Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jail for owning pepper spray or stun gun in one's home

Punishment for those caught taking precautions for their own safety go beyond draconian and into outright lunacy in the United Kingdom. While prison spaces become more and more crowded and expensive for the taxpayer to maintain, judges are willing to put people behind bars for simple possession of defensive items, in the case of  Christopher Steven Loveridge, a novelty electronic stun-gun brought back from Thailand by an ex-girlfriend.

The 25-year-old said it was only when police raided his home in Spencer Road, Coseley on November 11 looking for the high voltage device that he realised that it was illegal. Mr Howard Searle prosecuting, told the court  Loveridge had immediately retrieved the device which he had kept inside a coat at the top of a wardrobe and handed it to police. Mr Searle said: “It had a button and toggle switch to be operated, and it produced a very high voltage, which would cause harm.”
Loveridge gave evidence in court and said he had been given the device in a gift box by his ex-girlfriend. He said: “At the beginning I just thought it was a torch. It was given to me as a novelty, a joke. I didn’t use it.” Loveridge told the court it was only later that he was told it would give an electric shock, and even then he did not realise it was dangerous. He told the court he had put it away at the top of his wardrobe and not looked at it again.
For this victimless crime he was sentenced to 21 months in prison at your expense. Pepper spray also can award you a similar sentence, as Aberdeen resident Miles Walker recently found out. Sentences such as these do not increase public safety nor deter violent criminals. In fact, treating non-lethal weapons as firearms increases the likely hood of a criminal carrying a knife instead. Items such as pepper spray and stun guns offer the ability to defend against violent criminals, who thanks to the government have an unarmed prey to carry out their crimes upon. To deter violent criminals from acting out their crimes, they must be made to fear immediate consequences from their victim - not abstract and distant criminal justice proceedings of which they are unlikely to be affected by.