A ‘Walter Mitty’ character, jailed for five years after being caught with an illegal Magnum revolver and ammunition, has been told by top judges he cannot complain about his sentence.
Dominic Barker was found with the fearsome weapon, a silencer and a stash of cartridges after a paramedic treating him for a hand injury he suffered when some ammunition exploded alerted police to the Elland factory unit.
The 20-year-old, who was living in Elland, at the time but later moved to Springholm, Castle Douglas, in Scotland, was jailed at Bradford Crown Court in May after admitting possession of the gun and ammunition.
He challenged his sentence at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing it was ‘too long’ for his crimes.
But his complaints were thrown out by three of the country’s most senior judges, who said the term was ‘justified’.
The court heard Barker’s possession of the weapon and ammunition came to light in June last year after a paramedic treating his injured hand became concerned about the items in his factory unit and contacted police.
He told the paramedic he was an ‘arms dealer’ and had a licence for all of the items, but this was a lie.
Barker had hurt himself after some ammunition exploded in his hand.
Police closed roads and evacuated the area around the unit as a precaution while searching it.
Barker told police he thought the revolver, which was fitted with a silencer, was a starting pistol and said he viewed firearms as a ‘hobby’, rather than an obsession.
But the crown court judge found that someone with his knowledge could not have mistaken the gun for anything other than an active and dangerous weapon.
Imposing the minimum five-year term for banned firearm possession, the judge also said it was not credible that he believed it to be a starter pistol, which is specifically designed to make a loud noise, when it was fitted with a silencer.
His lawyers argued there were exceptional circumstances in the case, which would have allowed the judge to pass a lower jail term, and that there was not enough evidence to contradict Barker’s claim he didn’t realise how dangerous the gun was.
But his appeal was dismissed by Mr Justice Supperstone who said there was no unfairness in the way the judge dealt with the case.
Sitting with Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Lindblom, he added: “There was material on which the judge could properly rely when reaching the conclusions he did.”