A former Nato soldier, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, has overcome the five-year statutory sentence after being charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition in a public place. The defendant, Viktor Stura, was represented by Mark Gatley of Garden Court Chambers.
Mr Stura was found to be in possession of a knife, firearm and boxes of ammunition. However, he had no previous convictions in the UK or in his native country of Lithuania and believed that he did not need a license for the weapon.
It is very rare to get sentences below the statutory minimum and the judge, who was persuaded that there were exceptional circumstances surrounding Mr Stura’s case, added that the defendant "owed a great debt" to Mark Gatley.
When sentencing Mr Stura, Judge Timothy Spencer QC said:
“I will make it plain to you when I first read the papers in your case and we were looking at a jury trial, without having any discussions, I mentally pencilled, if you were convicted, around 10 years or possibly more … From one former soldier to another soldier, I have admiration for your bravery.”