Man cleared of shotgun charge

MYSTERY still surrounds the discovery of a sawn-off shotgun in the Spa Gardens after a Scarborough man was cleared on the direction of a judge of a charge connected with the potentially lethal weapon.

Despite Mark Millions’ DNA being found on the gun after it was found hidden in bushes by officers from the Armed Response Unit, Recorder Simon Jackson QC, at York Crown Court ruled he could not be properly convicted on the evidence presented by the prosecution.

Following a submission to the court by Ruth Cranidge, mitigating, the recorder directed a jury, who had heard the prosecution case, to return a not guilty verdict on the 41-year-old, who lives with his mother in Beck Lane, Cloughton.

Millions had denied a charge of possessing the shortened over and under barrelled, 12 gauge gun between November 2009 and November last year.

Sabrina Hartshorn, prosecuting, had told the court that following a drugs raid on a house in South Cliff, the police received an anonymous call from a man who said that he had heard they night be looking for a gun and that it had been hidden in bushes in Esplanade.

One-and-a-half hours into the search of the area on the afternoon of November 8 last year, the police recovered the weapon, wrapped in black refuse bags and a scarf.

Miss Hartshorne said that forensic tests resulted in Millions’ DNA being recovered from the weapon, adding that experts estimated that the chance of it being a wrong result was one in a billion.

The court also heard that tests showed that one of the barrels of the gun was capable of being fired.

Millions was arrested, but in interview denied any knowledge of the gun, telling the police that the allegation had “freaked” him out and that the nearest he had ever got to handling a gun was a water pistol.

He said: “I wouldn’t have anything to do with any gun. I wouldn’t touch them.

“It’s not my scene, not my cup of tea, I’m not into guns they frighten me.”

Recorder Jackson said although any allegation involving illegal firearms such as this one always has to be regarded as one of the most serious of offences, there was not the evidence to show that Millions had possessed this particular weapon as defined by the law.

He said that DNA results on their own were not enough and that people may lie to the police for a variety of reasons, including through panic or wanting to protect another.

He added that there was no fingerprint evidence, or connection between Millions and anyone else named to the police as having had the weapon.

The recorder said that there was a difference between someone possessing a weapon and it perhaps being shown to them and pushed away by them saying they wanted nothing to do with it, but thereby leaving their DNA behind.