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Nigel Allan Noble v. Ian Latimer, Sheriff Margaret Neilson, Inverness Sheriff Court, 21 April 2011


Parties and Background:
The pursuer was a businessman who owned several firearms which he stored at his home near Beauly. The defender was the Chief Constable of Northern Constabulary. The defender had revoked the pursuer's firearms certificates under s.30 of the Firearms Act 1968 following a visit by police officers to the pursuer's house on 23rd May 2010. The police had received intelligence from a confidential source that the pursuer was storing firearms and shotguns insecurely. They found firearms unsecured in the pursuer's bedroom. The police also found that certificates produced in respect of the firearms were not signed. This action was the pursuer's appeal against the revocation of his certificates.
Parties' Submissions:
The pursuer argued that the weapons were not stored insecurely and that they were out of their storage cabinet at the time of the police visit because they were being cleaned. Previous incidents in 2007 and 2008 suggesting that the pursuer was of intemperate habits should not have been considered by the police in making their decision.
The defender argued that the earlier incidents were relevant to the decision to revoke the certificates. The weapons were being stored in an insecure manner and were easily accessible by any persons wishing to access them. There was no evidence of the weapons being cleaned; there were no cleaning materials present and the barrels of all the weapons were dirty. The pursuer had a cavalier and dismissive attitude in failing to sign his certificates. The pursuer was someone who could not be permitted to have a firearm without danger to the public safety or the peace.
The sheriff refused the appeal and found in favour of the defender. The pursuer was of intemperate habits and was unfit to be entrusted with a firearm. Continued possession of firearms and shotguns presented a danger to public safety or peace. The pursuer's certificates were not to be reinstated.