#paulclarke - important updates

Last weekend there was a twitter storm over Paul Clarke, who found a gun, took it to his local police station and was arrested and now faces five years in prison.

Other than a short piece on page 25 of the Sun, which was not transferred online, coverage in the mainstream media has been pitifully inadequate.

Clarke's lawyer, Lionel Blackman, spoke to Eddie Mair on Monday's PM program on BBC Radio 4, but the story was very low key, and only added the bizarre fact that Clarke had once been found in possession of a cattle prod.

Comments at the original story have been disabled for 'legal reasons', and Holly Thompson, the journalist who was in court and wrote the original piece, seems to have gone to ground.

Is the story dying? Is it being allowed to die?

Well, one blogger has not let the matter rest. One blogger has pushed the boundary that divides journalism and blogging, and put the mainstream media to shame.

Self described 'Legal Writer' Jack of Kent has been busy, has researched diligently, and has come up with by far the best post on this grim tale so far: "An Anatomy of an Injustice"

You really should get over there and read the entire, excellent piece. He speaks about the law itself:

Mandatory minimum sentences for a range of firearms offences were introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 2003, one of the most notorious and illiberal statutes ever passed by Parliament. The director of the pressure group Liberty stated:

"In years to come, as more innocent people emerge after years in prison caused by these plans, we'll wonder how Parliament let this shameful attack on justice get into law".

The legislation relating to mandatory minimum sentences for a range of firearms offences were not even properly scrutinised by Parliament. They were introduced at the very late (and post committee) "Report stage"

So, the law itself is dodgy at best. But what about Clarke? Is he dodgy at best?

'Jack' has also spoken with the CPS, whose decision to prosecute is right at the bottom of this tale. The CPS throw a somewhat different light on the case (CF's emphasis):

Under the Code for Crown Prosecutors the CPS considered it was in the public interest to prosecute Mr Clarke as he was in possession of a sawn off shot gun.
He had come into possession of the shot gun and two shotgun cartridges some days earlier and had not immediately contacted the police to make them aware of its existence.
He was given the opportunity by the police to explain the full circumstances as to how he was in possession of the lethal weapon but his explanation lacked credibility.

Hmmmm. That's a twist, eh? 'some days'? 'lacked credibility'?

Jack has also described in more detail the court proceedings, and the behaviour of the judge:

"The judge summed up by stating this was an unusual case and that, as it was a strict liability, there could be no defence. However, he was careful not to direct the jury to convict: it was a matter for them.

Thanks to Jack's work this week, there's now much more detail in the public domain, and much, much more to think on.

Good work, Jack.



Musings said...

Either the mainstream media know something that we don't, or they somehow see no story in this.

I'm going to assume the former, considering some of the garbage and outcries that we see on the front pages of most newspapers.

Hemingway's Rifle said...

now faces five years in prison.

That's not true though, as you know he hasn't been sentenced.

JuliaM said...

"...as you know he hasn't been sentenced."

As this commenter over at Gadget's points out, you can wind up with no more than a few actual months inside (despite a 16 month sentence) for being a habitual crim actually FIRING a stolen shotgun in public.

So it he doesn't get a hell of a lot less, there may be even more of an outcry than previously seen...

Unknown said...

In terms of why the national press haven't picked it up, I suggest that, as Jack's piece makes out, Paul Clarke is a somewhat unsympathetic character and that digging by national journalists would likely highlight this.

That would mean that any story the press might run would be unlikely to invoke the necessary sympathy the national press like in their "injustices", rendering the story essentially a technical legal one and thus, from their perspective, rather dull.

I suspect it's the difference between a poor chancer getting what they probably had coming to them anyway, and middle class Samaritan being punished for doing the right thing.

Gary Clarke said...

What a contrast between Jack of Kent's diligently investigated report and your own ignorant rant.
Your only credibility is as a bug-eyed, knuckle-scrapping, slobbering, moron.

Constantly Furious said...

@'Gary Clarke'

You came all the way over here, just to say that? You twat.

I assume you are the same Gary Clarke who commented a few days ago saying that we were credulous fools for believing this had even happened as reported. And then, shortly afterward, deleted your own comment.

The same Gary Clarke who doesn't appear to have a blog of his own, and who has added precisely nothing to the debate on this, or indeed any other, subject.

But that's all we know, so far.

Please, tell us more about yourself Gary, tell us your ideas on this, show us your blog, let us have more information about you and your views.

That way we might be able to avoid coming to the conclusion that you are a completely pointless cunt.


Jack of Kent said...

@'Gary Clarke'

I would rather have written CF's blogpost than your snide comment.

JuliaM said...

"That way we might be able to avoid coming to the conclusion that you are a completely pointless cunt."

Actually, I don't think we can avoid it...

Jill said...

CF and Gary Clarke sitting in a tree. K I S S L M N O P.

Ha. Aside from the unintelligible 'poned' and the at-least-intelligible-although-totally-misused 'immense', that is my bestest favourite fing wot my kidz say.

Excellent article by Jack which has helped out my understanding of the affair no end. I'm awaiting sentencing for a final judgement of my own.

Anonymous said...

Actually I don’t care about Paul Clarke’s past.
He walked into a police station and handed in a gun.
The police officer should have taken his name and address, said thank you very much and sent him on his way.
One less gun out on the street, good.
If it subsequently turns out that the gun was used, then they can question Paul Clarke.
Who in the right mind would hand in a gun now?
As CF has stated in a previous post, I cannot see any circumstances where Paul Clarke should have been detained/arrested by the police.

Anonymous said...

Paul Clarke is an arsehole who had a sawn off shotgun which he could not explain his possession off satifactorily to the authorities. What exactly is the problem here ???

Anonymous said...

btw has the female journalist gone to ground as her story is half assed in the first place ?

Anonymous said...

CF judging by your reply to Gary Clarke, are you saying that one can only post a comment on here if one has a blog of their own ? If thats the case perhaps you should make that clear as many posters including myself are clearly outstaying their welcome. Or is it you just dont like people pointing out to you that there may be more to this story and in fact a certain individual may be an arsehole of an attention seeker who is well known to the Police and who was in possession of a sawn off which he claims, apparently to have found at the bottom of his Garden in circumstances which dont add up either to the Police or CPS. This is the same individual who attacked someone in the street and faced court for that as well not so long ago. Are you sure you want to hitch your colours to this arse ??

Anonymous said...

Ok lets take Mr Clarks story at face value and for the sake of argument accept he is not a lying toerag and forget the fact that he has a known propensity for violence and is well known to the Police. Even if his story about finding the gun at the bottom of his garden is true( stop sniggering at the back) even accepting this, what das he doing with it for the two days or so between finding it and handing it in. Not exactly the actions of someone doing their civil duty there is it ???? The continued possession of the gun over this period is enough to convict him. I really dont see the problem here.
I suspect some peoples paranoia with the state( and I can see why this has arisen) is getting in the way of reasoned thought.

Anonymous said...

Seems to be the case that both the Police and Clarke are not saying something. Whether it is the same something they are not saying, or different somethings, it seems we won't find out.

Constantly Furious said...

"are you saying that one can only post a comment on here if one has a blog of their own ?".

Of course not.

"a certain individual may be an arsehole of an attention seeker .. well known to the Police ... who attacked someone in the street and faced court for that.."

Do you think that any of the above means he should go to prison for 5 years?

Do you think that the police and judiciary should put away everybody you don't like the look of?


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