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Help requested re Trespassing with a Firearm

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Help requested re Trespassing with a Firearm

Postby shootist » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:17 pm

I've been trying to track down a couple of decided cases about trespassing with a firearm. I've had a good look round the CPS site and BAILII, which I find about as user friendly as a rat with rabies, but no luck.

The cases I refer to are not the obvious strolling onto someone else's land with a firearm. The specific situation is when a person armed with a firearm on land where he has permission to shoot lawfully, but the shot or bullet crosses the boundary onto the land of another without permission.

The query is whether this would amount to a criminal offence under Section 20 Firearms Act 1968. I could do with a case or two on the subject. I believe I have read a couple sometime in the past but can't track them down. I'm fairly sure that such an event would constitute a trespass, but both the shooter and the firearm has remained on permitted land. I seem to recall that it should be a criminal offence of trespassing with a firearm, but I need case law to be definitive in that assertion or it's denial.

For clarification nobody I'm aware of has done such a thing, it's just an exercise in understanding the law which once I have an answer I can try and drum into the heads of one of the most legislation averse groups of people I have ever encountered. For a sport where you would think that knowledge of the law is of paramount importance, while they all seem to be determined to keep to the letter of the law and behave as well as they can, when those letters appear they seem to recoil in horror at the thought of actually having to understand the bloody stuff! They all seem to want to know, but show them a decided case or an extract from legislation and they respond like a rabbi being asked to slaughter a pig. (Just my sense of humour, I hope that doesn't upset anyone.)
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Re: Help requested re Trespassing with a Firearm

Postby atticus » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:09 am

The offence under s20 Firearms Act 1968 clearly occurs when a person enters land as a trespasser with a firearm.
20 Trespassing with firearm.

(1)A person commits an offence if, while he has a firearm or imitation firearmwith him, he enters or is in any building or part of a building as a trespasser and without reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on him).

(2)A person commits an offence if, while he has a firearm or imitation firearm with him, he enters or is on any land as a trespasser and without reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on him).

(3)In subsection (2) of this section the expression “land” includes land covered with water.
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