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Kidderminster man who had stun gun escapes five-year jail sentence
6:20am Friday 23rd August 2013 in News
A KIDDERMINSTER man has escaped a five-year jail sentence for having a stun gun disguised as a mobile phone after a judge accepted he thought it was a novelty toy.
Kye Harden bought the device from a market stall while on holiday in Cyprus and kept it on top of a kitchen cupboard at his home in Lister Road, Kidderminster, Worcester Crown Court heard.
Police discovered it when they carried out a drugs raid in November last year and also found 7.49 grams of cocaine worth £150.
Harden, 35, pleaded guilty to possessing the drugs and having the stun gun at an earlier hearing but said he did not know it was a prohibited weapon.
He told the court he had bought it for £29 euros - about £20 - and took it back to his hotel.
"I only tried it on myself in a bar in Cyprus," he said. "I flicked it across my leg. It made me judder a lot and left a red mark."
He returned home with it in his suitcase and it stayed on top of the cupboard until the police found it five months later. He told the court he had no intention of using it and had kept it as a novelty toy.
Paul Whitfield, prosecuting, said it was a prohibited weapon, which could emit a shock from about an inch away and made a loud noise. It had been tested on pigskin and left a mark.
Adam Western, defending, said it came under the minimum mandatory five-year sentence section of the Firearms Act because it was disguised as something else but he argued that there were exceptional circumstances because Harden did not realise it was a weapon.
The court heard Harden had 16 convictions for 38 offences and had spent time in prison for violence but Mr Western said he was now free of his addiction to cocaine and ran a successful business as a carpenter. He also helped care for his two young children and for his seriously ill wife.
Judge Toby Hooper said he accepted Harden’s explanation that he thought the stun gun was just a toy, which meant the five-year mandatory term need not apply.
He sentenced Harden to two years jail suspended for two years for the firearm offence with six months concurrent on the drugs charge. He was also given the maximum 300 hours unpaid work to be carried out within a year and ordered to pay £1,200 costs.