Robert Riggs had appealed his sentence and conviction for having left his firearm in an unlocked room whilst he went on holiday contrary to section 1(2) of the Firearms Act 1968. Mr Riggs had been sentenced to pay a fine of £3,000 which his appeal argued that the Sheriff had not taken into account all mitigating factors.
On the 5th of July 2018 after the appellant had returned from shooting vermin he removed the bolt of the rifle to clean it and left the rifle out of the cabinet to dry with the bolt removed. The appellant and his wife left the next day to go on holiday without placing the rifle back in a locked cabinet. During the appellant’s holiday a fire broke out at his home address which led to firefighters discovering the rifle and a report subsequently being made to the police. The appellant led evidence demonstrating the additional security measures that were at his home including reinforced doors and security cameras.
The appellant submitted that the Sheriff had failed to consider all the relevant facts and circumstances when considering what was reasonably practical and should have taken into account the additional security measures at the appellant’s home. The appellant also submitted that he had removed the bolt from the rifle which was the working part.
Sheriff Principal Anwar providing the decision on appeal stated:
“The appellant is a 59-year-old individual with no previous history of offending. It was clear from the evidence before the sheriff that the failure to securely store the firearm within the gun cabinet on the day in question had been an oversight rather than a deliberate contravention of the appellant’s firearms certificate.”
The fine of £3,000 was thereinafter deemed excessive particularly taking into account that the bolt of the rifle was removed. A fine of £1,000 was substituted and the conviction was upheld.