Accused imported gun 'by accident'

The family of Andrew Richardson on Monday spoke of their shock at the draconian sentence imposed by the courts.

The family of Andrew Richardson on Monday spoke of their shock at the draconian sentence imposed by the courts.

Last week 48-year-old Andrew Richardson, son of leading county farmer, broadcaster and commentator David Richardson, was jailed for five years after admitting possession of a firearm.

the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) explained why it had taken the case to court, saying the law left them with little option but to proceed with such serious charges.

But David Richardson said the family had been left 'feeling sick' at the heavy price his son had paid. He said: 'We were incredibly surprised when Andrew's wife got a telephone call, from the court I think it was sometime on Friday evening, to say that Andrew had been sent to prison.

'You can imagine we were slightly shell-shocked because we had no idea this sort of thing was going to happen. She knew he was in court for something or other, but she wasn't aware of what it was or certainly the seriousness of it, and probably Andrew wasn't either.'

He added that the family were working with legal advisers to see if there is a prospect of a successful appeal against the sentence, saying his son 'transparently is not a criminal' and had 'forgotten' about the gun.

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'It shouldn't have come over. It never should have been brought over,' he said. 'I think it was the fault of the people who did the packing who made the mistake and they never should have put it in the boxes. He might not even have known it was in the boxes, for all I know.'

He said: 'We're examining the possibility of an appeal and hopefully we will be able to get something done about it, to reduce the punishment in some way.'

District crown prosecutor Andrew Baxter said that laws were changed in 2004 to allow for stricter sentences to serve as deterrent to those who are in unlawful possession of firearms. Five years is the minimum sentence available to the court.

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