Specialist London Solicitors in Firearms cases
At MFI Law Limited we have the expertise in representing clients charged with a firearms offence. Our London Solicitors are available to represent clients at London Police Stations, Magistrates' and Crown Courts throughout the country.
Possession of a Firearm is governed by Section 57 of the Firearms Act 1968:
A firearm is “a lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged“, it includes:
- any prohibited weapon (see section 5 Firearms Act 1968), whether it is such a lethal weapon as aforesaid or not
- any component part of such a lethal or prohibited weapon
- any accessory to any such weapon designed or adapted to diminish the noise or flash caused by firing the weapon.
Firearms offences are a complex area of law which in most cases will require the use of case law and expert evidence.
Only a court can decide whether any particular weapon is capable of causing “more than trifling and trivial” injury and is therefore is a “firearm” for the purposes of the Acts. The Forensic Science Provider (FSP) will be able to advise in any case where “lethality” is likely to be an issue. See also: R v Thorpe 85 Cr. App. R 107 CA.
R v Singh (1989) Crim. L.R. 724, CA, involved an evidential dispute as to whether a launcher was barrelled.
From which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged
It has to be capable of discharging a missile either in its present state or with adaptation. To prove that a weapon is a firearm, it is essential to call evidence as to whether a bullet or missile can be discharged from the weapon or which can be adapted to discharge any missile.
R v Clarke (F), 82 Cr App R 308, CA states that the component part of a prohibited weapon is itself a prohibited weapon. Although there is no statutory definition, the Home Office Guidance to the Police at paragraph 13.70 states the following:
The term “component part” may be held to include (i) the barrel, chamber, cylinder, (ii)frame, body or receiver, (iii) breech, block, bolt or other mechanism for containing the charge at the rear of the chamber (iv), any other part of the firearm upon which the pressure caused by firing the weapon impinges directly. Magazines, sights and furniture are not considered component parts.
Sentencing guidelines for Firearms
Maximum Sentence: Possession of a firearm or ammunition without certificate is triable either way – Summary – 6 months / fine
On indictment – when aggravated, 7 years, otherwise 5 years
Failure to comply with a condition of a certificate is triable only summarily - 6 months / fine
Possession of firearm with intent to cause fear of violence section 16a of the Firearms Act 1968:
- It is an offence for a person to have in his possession any firearm or imitation firearm with intent—
- by means thereof to cause, or
- to enable another person by means thereof to cause, any person to believe unlawful violence will be used against him or another person.
Sentencing guidelines for Possession of firearm with intent to cause fear of violence
Maximum Sentence: 10 years imprisonment