Nick Doherty recently represented a certificate holder who had left a shotgun in his unlocked car outside his house awaiting the arival of a family member who wished to borrow the gun. An old friend came to the house to help with some mechanical work. He was there for a short period, did the work and then left. Unbeknown to the certificate holder the friend had removed the gun and some cartridges from the car. Unfortunately the following day the friend went to a secluded wood and took his life with the gun. The certificate holder and his family, who all knew the man well, were devastated.
Not susprisingly the police revoked the certificates on the basis that the holder had not taken ‘reasonable precautions’ for the safekeeping of the shotgun. As Nick pointed out to the court, when a gun is stolen it does not necessarily mean that the certificate holder had not been taking reasonable precautions. In this case the car was in a farmyard, within a few feet of the owner with a number of dogs present. No one who was not trusted could have gained access to the area. The court accepted in this particular case that reasonable precautions had been taken by the certificate holder in the circumstances as he believed them to be and allowed his appeal against the revocation.