After the hearing Smith said he had refused to accept a ticking off or a caution at the police station because it would have meant handing over the guns.Which is probably why the police were so determined to nail him. But they reckoned without Judge Murphy:
‘I couldn’t agree to that because of their historical significance,’ he said.
Common sense prevailed when the judge dealing with his case at Sheffield Crown Court recognised he was a genuine enthusiast and intervened to save Smith from punishment and his weapons from destruction.It's pretty ironic that there are probably more working-order illegal firearms within a stone's throw of New Scotland Yard than historical re-enactment societies in the country.
Judge Michael Murphy told him: ‘I am quite satisfied that you are not a criminal and this is part of your hobby.’
Police requested the forfeiture of his deactivated 1934 Steyr MP34 German machine gun, valued at around £3,000, as well as two replica pistols.
But the judge said: ‘I don’t want historical artefacts to be destroyed and so I am not going to make an order to destroy these things.’
And, once again, the police's desire not to be 'disrespected' matches that of the tooth-sucking urban 'yoof' they are supposedly set up to combat. Makes you think, doesn't it?