Stuart James Jenkins v Director of Public Prosecutions

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtQueen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
JudgeLady Justice Carr,Saini J
Judgment Date22 May 2020
Neutral Citation[2020] EWHC 1307 (Admin)
Date22 May 2020
Docket NumberCase No: CO/4626/2019

[2020] EWHC 1307 (Admin)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

(sitting in Bristol)

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Before:

Lady Justice Carr

and

Mr Justice Saini

Case No: CO/4626/2019

Between:
Stuart James Jenkins
Appellant
and
Director of Public Prosecutions
Respondent

and

Portsmouth Magistrates' Court
Interested Party

Andrew Stephens (instructed by Wannops LLP) for the Appellant

Lucy Organ (instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service) for the Respondent

Hearing date: 19 May 2020

Lady Justice Carr

Introduction

1

This is an appeal against conviction by way of case stated. The appellant, Stuart Jenkins (“Mr Jenkins”), challenges the decision of the lay justices (“the Magistrates”) sitting at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court on 1 July 2019 finding him guilty on summary conviction of an offence of possession of a weapon designed or adapted for the discharge of electrical current for incapacitation contrary to s. 5(1)(b) and Schedule 6 of the Firearms Act 1968. The weapon, namely a stun gun (“the stun gun”), was found in the glove compartment of the car being driven by Mr Jenkins.

2

The question for the opinion of this court (as re-framed with the consent of the parties) is as follows:

“Did we err in finding that the appellant was in possession of the stun gun when his vehicle was stopped by the police?”

The facts

3

The facts can be summarised as follows: at around 8.40pm on 20 October 2018 police on uniformed patrol identified a vehicle of interest to them. They followed it for a short distance before causing it to stop. Mr Jenkins was the driver and a female, Ms Samantha Price, was in the front passenger seat. On searching the vehicle, a stun gun was found in the glove compartment. It was an agreed fact that Mr Jenkins knew at the time that the stun gun was in the car and that he was the owner, driver and registered keeper of the car at the time.

4

At 9.09pm Mr Jenkins was arrested on suspicion of possessing a prohibited weapon (and other offences not relevant for present purposes). He gave a prepared statement in interview stating that the stun gun had nothing to do with him. He did not know what it was and it did not belong to him. He was not the only person in the car.

5

The matter proceeded by way of postal charge. Having pleaded not guilty and indicated that his case was that at no time had he had possession of the stun gun (which belonged to Ms Price), Mr Jenkins faced trial on 1 July 2019. There was no oral evidence for the prosecution which relied on police statements read pursuant to s. 9 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 and a forensic report confirming that the item was a prohibited weapon as described in s. 5(1)(b) of the Firearms Act 1968, which was also read.

6

Mr Jenkins gave oral evidence in his defence including as to how the stun gun came to be in his car, namely that it was put in the glove compartment by his passenger, Ms Price. He said that he did not know that Ms Price had the stun gun until she produced it in the car only very shortly before the police apprehended him. When she did so, he told her to “get that thing away from me”. She then placed the stun gun in the glove compartment. He believed that she would remove the stun gun from the car when he dropped her back home.

7

Upon his conviction, Mr Jenkins applied successfully for a case to be stated, as it was on 10 October 2019.

8

In the case stated the Magistrates indicate that upon their retirement to consider their decision the agreed relevant facts were as follows:

i) a stun gun was found in the glove box of Mr Jenkins' car on 20 October 2018;

ii) Mr Jenkins knew the stun gun was in the car at the time the vehicle was stopped by the police;

iii) Mr Jenkins was the owner, driver and registered keeper of the car at the time of the alleged offence.

9

Their finding was recorded as follows:

“The defendant became in possession of the stun gun from the moment it was placed in the glove box of the car. Our reasons for this finding were that from that point on, knowing of its existence, he exercised at least a degree of control over the stun gun and was therefore in possession.”

The parties' respective positions

10

For Mr Jenkins, the central submission is that, whilst the Magistrates were directed correctly as to the law (in particular by reference to R v Taylor [2011] EWCA Crim 1646 and Warner v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1969] 2 AC 256), the Magistrates misapplied the law to the facts of the case. There was insufficient evidence for a finding that Mr Jenkins exercised words or actions revealing such power or control of the stun gun as could fairly amount to possession of it. Mr Jenkins had only the “barest custody” of the stun gun such that he was not in possession of it (see Sullivan v Earl of Caithness [1976] All ER 844 at 847).

11

It is submitted (by reference to their finding as recorded) that the Magistrates must have accepted Mr Jenkins' evidence as to how the stun gun came to be in the glove compartment. The only evidence on this issue came from Mr Jenkins. There is no basis for interfering with that finding (see DPP v Chand ...

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2 cases
  • Albert Paulton v R
    • Jamaica
    • Court of Appeal (Jamaica)
    • 14 janvier 2022
    ...(Italics as in original, emphasis supplied) 21 The Queen's Bench, in Jenkins v Director of Public Prosecutions and Another [2020] EWHC 1307 (Admin), dealt with a provision of legislation, which was differently worded from the Act but similar in its effect. In that case, Mr Jenkins gave a w......
  • The Queen v Dean Ryan Derby
    • Cayman Islands
    • Grand Court (Cayman Islands)
    • 26 août 2020
    ...[2002] CILR 276 13 [2011] EWCA Cri, 1646 14 [2020] EWHC 1307 15 2010(1) CILR Note 7 16 1991 Crim L. R. 381 17 1993 Crim L.R. 298 18 2020 EWHC 1307 (Admin) 19 R. v. Lucas [1981] 73 Cr. App. R. 159; Strudwick and Merry [1994] 99 Cr. App. R. 326 ...

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