Thursday, February 25, 2016

UK: Tony Martin, the Police, and Gun Charges

Tony Martin became a cause celebre in 1999 when he shot a pair of professional burglars in the middle of the night, at his remote farm in the UK.  The teenage suspect died.  The Shotgun that Martin used was not registered. Martin was prosecuted and convicted of murder.  On appeal the charge was reduced to manslaughter.  He served three years of a five year sentence.  His case sparked a resurgence in the belief of the right to self defense in the UK, and attempts at reform.

Martin had credible death threats made against his life. From :

14 April 2000: Norwich Crown Court hears that Martin is taken to a secret address under police protection after death threats are made against him and reports of a £60,000 price tag on his life emerge.
In 2015, Martin continued to move about frequently, often sleeping at friends houses and at different locations, sometimes in his car on the farm where the original shooting occurred.  On 29 December, 2015 Martin gave an interview to a reporter about a recent shooting homicide in the UK.  From ukshootingnews:
The police operation against Martin is said to have been pre-planned. Norfolk Constabulary refused to deny Starr’s allegations that local constables wanted to teach the old man a lesson.

Martin had been commenting to a local newspaper about a fatal shooting at an Essex care home on 29th December. A resident in her 80s was shot dead, reportedly by a man of about the same age armed with a revolver.

It is thought the farmer said words to the effect of “Do I still have a gun? You’ll have to find out, won’t you.”
The reports it this way:
He allegedly claimed that he too kept at least one weapon. He also referred to the Norfolk Constabulary as “a bunch of halfwits”.
The police staged a raid on Martin's Farm.  Martin may have been sleeping in his car, because the police impounded the vehicle. From the
Police have been accused of pursuing a vendetta against Tony Martin as it emerged they impounded the car the farmer sleeps in after finding a possibly unlicensed air rifle during a raid on his land.

The 71-year-old began the New Year hiding at a secret address after he was released from custody amid fears he was keeping illegally held guns at his farmhouse.

Martin, who spent three years in jail after shooting dead a teenage intruder in 1999, was held while police searched his 300-acre farm in Emneth Hungate, Norfolk.

Officers uncovered an air rifle during the “planned operation” on New Year’s Eve, and are understood to have impounded his car.

The millionaire landowner frequently sleeps in the vehicle – when he is not dossing down at the homes of friends or the adjoining barn at his farm.
On 12 February, 2016, all charges were dropped against Martin.  As a convicted felon, he is not allowed to own an air rifle in the UK.  The "air rifle" found during the raid was not functional.  One wonders what was actually found. From
Farmer Tony Martin who was jailed after shooting and killing a burglar in 1999 will not face any fresh firearms charges.

Norfolk Police said they arrested a 71-year-old on suspicion of firearms offences after searching a property near Wisbech on New Year's Eve.

Officers said the raid on the farmhouse at Emneth Hungate was based on "credible intelligence".


Det Ch Insp Andy Coller said: "Following the arrest a thorough search was conducted and officers seized a firearm, which was believed to be an air weapon.

"However following further enquiries, it was deemed not to be a viable weapon due to its condition."

For U.S. citizens, the Tony Martin case epitomizes the reasons for the Second Amendment, the Castle Doctrine, Stand Your Ground laws, and strong support for the right of self defense in the U.S. legal system.

Three years after the Tony Martin case, in 2002, another UK farmer shot an intruder with a shotgun.  That intruder survived, and the outcome of the trial was far different.  A Jury of his peers found him not guilty, and while the shotgun that he used was not registered, the Judge cleared him of all charges.  From
He gave Mr Hemstock an absolute discharge after the farmer admitted not having a certificate for the shotgun involved, although he legally held five others.

The judge told him: "You have suffered quite enough as a result of what happened on that night. You can go and I am sure we will never see you again."
It is not known if Mr. Hemstock had given any interviews to reporters in 2015.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

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