Exceptional circumstances in disguised weapon case

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Crown Court at Bradford (UK), 17 August 2018

Lyel Terrelonge (22) from Bradford today avoided a mimimum statutary five-year custodial sentence for possession of a disguised weapon, namely a stun gun which looked like a torch. The trial and sentencing judge were Judge David Hatton QC, and he ordered destruction of the weapon. Judge Hatton further handed down a suspended sentence to Mr Terrelonge, with a curfew and community-work tariff.

In reaching his decision his honour considered tests proposed by the Appeal Court.

"What sort of weapon was it? Here it was not lethal," said the judge.

Then the judge asked and answered, "What uses were made of the weapon? Here there is no evidence any use was made."

"What was the intent of possession? That is unclear, but I'm unable to find," said his honour to Mr Terrelonge, "that you had intent to use the weapon."

"What is the defendant's record? You have no criminal record of any kind," said Judge Hatton. "I accept your evidence that you did not know it (the disguised stun gun) was illegal to possess, and did not buy it, and it was given you by a colleague."

During the sentencing hearing the Court heard that Mr Terrelonge had a first class honours degree in Spanish and Italian, and had hoped one day to work for the United Nations. His honour was convinced exceptional circumstances applied to both the offence and the offender. Judge Hatton made this view clear at the start of his sentencing remarks. The judge said he had observed the defendant's remorse.

Helen Gavaghan.

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