Dundee man jailed for firing stun gun at himself loses appeal

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A Dundee man jailed for having a stun gun which he fired only once — at his own leg — has had an appeal against his sentence rejected.

Allan Turnbull was sentenced to five years in prison on July 29 after admitting having the weapon, contrary to the Firearms Act.

Police received information that Turnbull owned a stun gun and raided his then home at Pitfour Street on May 29 last year.

The gun, disguised as a torch, was found inside a rucksack in his bedroom.

When Turnbull was sentenced, it was noted that contravening the Firearms Act carries a minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment “unless the court is of the opinion that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the offence”.

Turnbull launched an appeal against the sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh.

His lawyer emphasised that there “was no suggestion that the item had ever been used by the appellant or taken into a public place”.

He added: “It would therefore be arbitrary and disproportionate to impose a sentence of the length selected by the sheriff.”

However, Lord Turnbull rejected the appeal on Friday, saying that a firearm simply being in circulation was dangerous.

In his ruling, the judge said: “It can then come into possession of someone other than the particular offender, for example by theft, in whose hands the firearm would be a danger to the public.

“In the present case, the appellant was found to be in possession of a disguised stun gun which was charged and was operational.

“Contrary to the submission on his behalf, it had been used, albeit on himself.

“He was therefore well aware of its function and effect.

“The appellant explained to the author of the social work report that he had moved house on a number of occasions throughout the time that the stun gun had been in his rucksack.

“Again, contrary to the submission on his behalf, this appears to demonstrate that the item had been in a public place on a number of occasions and that there was a risk of the stun gun falling into the hands of another.”