Judge directs not guilty verdict in shotgun trial
A JUDGE directed a jury to return a not guilty verdict on a St George man accused of possessing a Bristol gang's gun.
Joshua Smith told Bristol Crown Court he had nothing to do with either St Paul's-based Blood Gang, or a sawn-off shotgun linked to them found to contain his DNA.
Mr Smith, 20, an apprentice electrician of Fir Tree Lane, denied possessing a prohibited firearm between October 1, 2004, and February 2, 2010.
Following a trial, Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC directed the not guilty verdict.
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The court heard the weapon was stolen from a cowboy theme park in Cornwall, acquired by the gang and found to have Mr Smith's DNA on its hammers when police found it in Bristol.
It was in the small hours of February 2, 2010, when police searched a property in Sussex Place, St Paul's, and located the 12-gauge weapon as well as two handguns secreted behind bath panels.
Paul Cook, prosecuting, told the court that a DVD obtained by police featured members of the Blood Gang with the shotgun as well as other weapons.
DC Owen Draper, the police officer in charge of the case, told the jury that in Gloucester in 2010 a man called Ashley Nicholls-Perry was found with a camcorder containing seven to eight hours' video footage of armed men rapping.
The jury was shown a clip of a disguised Narwayne Parchment rapping with the sawn-off shotgun in the case, together with a similarly disguised Linus Campbell rapping with a Desert Eagle handgun which was found with the shotgun.
Kate Greenslade, acting force armourer for Avon and Somerset Constabulary, confirmed the weapon had both its barrel and stock shortened and was a total length of 18 inches.
She said it was in poor condition, with the make, model and serial number unknown but able to fire.
Mr Smith told police he had not been to Sussex Place and he didn't know anyone there.
He said he was aware of tensions between St Paul's Blood Gang and Easton's High Street Gang, but though he heard talk of guns he had not seen firearms.
Mr Smith was also aware of the DVD footage referred to in the case, having watched it on the internet, but said he was not involved and there was no reason for his DNA to be on the shotgun.
He told the jury he received a police caution in October 2011, for having a police-style baton, and police sampled his DNA.
Mr Smith said he had never been a gang member and had not touched the shotgun found.