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By Court reporter Tuesday 23 October 2012 Updated: 23/10 11:23
A COMPANY director is to stand trial after being caught with an old Smith & Wesson revolver at Birmingham airport.
Barton Simpson (56) of Stafford Street, Eccleshall, pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to possessing a prohibited firearm.
The charge follows his arrest at Birmingham airport on May 31 when he was found to be in possession of an old .38 Smith & Wesson revolver.
The case had been adjourned at an earlier hearing for it to be reviewed by the CPS after a police inspector had decided it was not a suitable matter for a caution to be issued.
Asked by Judge Alan Parker if the review had taken place, prosecutor Neil Bannister replied: “Yes it has, at a senior level.”
And the decision was that the CPS should proceed with the case to trial, in which expert evidence is likely to be called by the defence, the judge was told.
Judge Parker asked whether that would be to deal with ‘the issue of antiquity,’ and Talbir Singh, defending, confirmed that it was.
Under the Firearms Act possession of a prohibited weapon carries a mandatory five-year sentence, unless there are exceptional circumstances relating to the offender or the offence - but antique weapons are exempt.
Simpson, who is listed on the Director Check website as a director of two companies, had described the revolver on one occasion as an antique, but later referred to it as a curio.
Judge Parker commented that if one acknowledged expert considered it to be an antique and another did not, it might be difficult for a jury to be sure it was not.
He adjourned the case for trial and Simpson, who is paying for his own defence, was granted unconditional bail.
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