Arms dealer awaits jury decision

TIMOTHY Richard Ashley, the arms dealer accused of possessing prohibited fire arms, was this afternoon waiting for his fate to be decided.Judge David Goodin, speaking before Ipswich Crown Court today summed up at the end of a ten-week trial.

TIMOTHY Richard Ashley, the arms dealer accused of possessing prohibited fire arms, was this afternoon waiting for his fate to be decided.

Judge David Goodin, speaking before Ipswich Crown Court today summed up at the end of a ten-week trial.

Ashley was arrested in February 2001 at his home in Pakenham.

The 58-year-old man, who supplied arms to Suffolk and Norfolk Police, was alleged to have in his possession prohibited fire arms - including rocket launchers or mortars.


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But, at an earlier hearing, Ashley denied four charges of possessing prohibited fire arms.

Today, Judge Goodin told the jury that Ashley was said to have in his possession 47 hand guns and 42 machine guns – when he only had authority to have in his possession 30 of each.

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The judge also said that Ashley was said to have in his possession three rocket launchers or mortars and seven weapons designed or adapted to discharge noxious gas or liquid – for which he had no authority.

But, Judge Goodin pointed out, there was no evidence that Ashley had been diverting weapons.

Judge Goodin then instructed the jury to consider whether the firearms which took Ashley over the acceptable limit were in his possession as component parts or fully-assembled.

For Ashley did have authority to have up to 100 component parts of hand guns or machine guns.

Judge Goodin said: "The question for you is whether he possessed an assembled weapon or component parts assembled by someone else on the day."

The judge also told the jury to consider whether the weapons in question were antiques, which would be a defence.

Judge Goodin said: "Mr Ashley's defence falls into two parts. Firstly he says that his weapons were not prohibited weapons at all. Some are antiques and others are not prohibited weapons."

"Secondly he says that some of the weapons possessed by him were not possessed as assembled weapons but as component parts."

The case continues.

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