Englishman handed suspended sentence for bearing unlicensed weapons

The man was attempting to send the weapons to his brother in the UK


(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A 54-year-old man has been handed a suspended sentence after he was intercepted carrying an unlicensed Beretta shotgun and a .22 calibre pistol at the Malta International Airport.

John Michael Doyle, from Bristol in the United Kingdom, was sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment, suspended for one year, and also had both weapons confiscated. 

Prosecuting inspector Silvio Magro, told the court that Doyle had attempted to export the firearms to the UK.

“He was not aware of what the law stipulated. He was attempting to send his weapons to his brother who does have a license for the weapons,” Magro said.

Legal aid lawyer Noel Bartolo, defending the accused, said that his client was unaware that a permit was required for these weapons to be carried.

“This is a very unfortunate case because my client’s brother does have a license for these weapons. The firearms were simply going to be sent back to my client’s brother. In fact, the accused wasn’t trying to hide them. He declared them immediately,” Bartolo said.

The prosecution agreed and added that there was no breach of security and that the accused had fully cooperated with the police.

The defence asked for punishment to be meted out in the form of a fine rather than imprisonment and asked for the weapons not to be forfeited to the court.

“Had the brother himself been here to transfer the weapons, this problem would not have emerged. It’s a question of technicality,” Bartolo told the court.

“Though the accused has pleaded guilty immediately and though he has cooperated fully with the police, ignorance of the law is no excuse,” magistrate Neville Camilleri said.

Doyle was sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment suspended for one year and the court confiscated both weapons.