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‘People with weapons use them when stressed’

News | Published:

A HOMEMADE Taser-type device, a .22 calibre rifle and various other weapons have been discovered in a teenager’s shed.

Magistrate's Court. (25412254)

When police officers went there, Max James was holding the conducted electrical weapon.

He told them: ‘I bet my Taser’s more powerful than yours.’

James, 18, of One Saunton, Rue de la Mare, Ronde Cheminee, St Sampson’s, admitted possessing the Taser device without permission of the Committee for Home Affairs, and the .22 calibre rifle without being the holder of a firearms certificate.

Judge Gary Perry said police had acted entirely appropriately when arresting the defendant bearing in mind what he had, his mental health issues, and the fact that he was armed when they got there.

Many people had interests, said Judge Perry, but in his view the defendant’s was close to being an obsession. ‘This court has seen on many occasions, people possessing weapons with no intention to use them but they go on to do so in stressful situations,’ he said.

‘Don’t put yourself in that position.’

Weapons were intended to take the lives of other people and if the defendant continued in this way it was inevitable that the police would be involved in future.

Crown Advocate Fiona Russell told the Magistrate’s Court how officers had been asked to attend at Grand Saunton, Rue des Petites Hougues, Vale, which was owned by the defendant’s parents.

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He had use of a shed there and when it was indicated that there might be a Taser inside, a consensual search of the shed was arranged.

When officers went back about a week later the defendant was standing in the front garden outside the shed with his mother and holding a taser.

He was told to put the device down, which he did after firstly removing the battery from it.

He said he had made it himself and that it was no good without a battery. He then claimed it was more powerful than those used by police.

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Inside the shed, officers found the .22 calibre rifle, a BB hand gun, an air rifle, several handmade knives, various gun components and the barrel of a gun which had been bored out.

In interview, he said he was the only one who used the shed and nobody else had access to it.

He bored the rifle barrel to clear a blockage and not to make it more powerful. His parents had just bought the property and the .22calibre rifle had been found in a well. He was using it for display purposes only. He thought it was only an air-rifle but his father had told him it was a weapon. He had never used it and it had not been taken outside the shed though he did make a comment suggesting he would use it if someone attacked him.

Advocate Chris Green said that while the offences might be alarming, they were not seeking to minimise them and his client had entered guilty pleas at the first opportunity. The defendant and his mother had initially called police after his client had argued with his father and the search took place about a week later.

It was the first time that the taser had been out of the shed. His client had made it because he had a genuine and inoffensive interest in weaponry. He was very skilful particularly when it came to electronics. He did not understand that it was unlawful to possess the .22calibre rifle without a licence and thought it could only fire pellets.

There was no evidence to suggest he had intended to use the weapons inappropriately. The other weapons mentioned were not part of the charges.

Collecting them was a hobby which his client considered was ‘cool.’ The Probation officer believed that public protection was not necessary.

Judge Gary Perry said police had acted entirely appropriately when arresting the defendant bearing in mind what he had, his mental health issues, and the fact that he was armed when they got there.

Many people had interests said Judge Perry but in his view the defendant’s was close to being an obsession.

‘This court has seen on many occasions, people possessing weapons with no intention to use them but they go on to do so in stressful situations,’ he said.

‘Don’t put yourself in that position.’

Weapons were intended to take the lives of other people and if the defendant continued in this way it was inevitable that the police would be involved in future.

James was ordered to carry out 100 hours community service, concurrent, for both offences. Forfeiture and destruction of the homemade taser and .22calibre rifle were ordered.

Nigel Baudains

By Nigel Baudains
News reporter

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