Regina v Clarke: CACD 1985

A sub-machine gun was found. It was incomplete, without trigger, pivot pin or magazine, but had been designed for fully-automatic fire only. It could be operated by use of a piece of string tied across the ‘sear’ (the catch keeping the hammer at full or half-cock) and around the trigger guard so that by applying tension to the string the gun could be operated. The Court disapproved Jobling [1981] Crim L R 625 and relied on the decision of the Court of Appeal in Pannell. The words in s.5(1)(a) were descriptive of the kind of firearm which is prohibited rather than descriptive of an individual weapon at the very time the accused was alleged to have been in possession of it (313). However a weapon might become so damaged or altered, by accident or design or by the removal of so many components, that it could no longer fairly be described as a ‘weapon’ (313). Alternatively, the gun, even after the trigger, pivot pin and magazine had been removed, was a component part of a prohibited weapon.


[1985] 82 Cr App R 308


England and Wales


DisapprovedRegina v Jobling CACD 1981
The court considered an appeal against a conviction for possession of a prohibited automatic weapon.
Held: It was insufficient to ask whether the weapon was originally designed to fire continuously; the question was whether it remained so. . .
AppliedRegina v Pannell CACD 1982
The defendant had been found in possession of the disassembled parts for three prohibited automatic firearms.
Held: The appeal failed despite the fact that the ability of the carbines to fire automatically required an operation of some . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 28 May 2022; Ref: scu.462422