A FORMER antiques dealer who left a double barrelled 12-bore shotgun in his attic when he split with his partner was told that he only avoided prison due to the ‘somewhat exceptional circumstances’ of his case.
48-year-old Simon Causer, of Lammas Street, Carmarthen, pleaded guilty to one charge of possessing a shotgun without a certificate when he appeared at Llanelli Law Courts on Thursday (Jun 7).
The court heard that the gun had been purchased when causer was working as an antiques dealer, and he had been under the misapprehension that the weapon had been deactivated.
Prosecuting, Catherine Miles told the court that the offence dated back to November 2016, when Causer’s ex-wife had been clearing out the house they had previously shared prior to selling it.
In the attic, she found two guns wrapped in black bags, which she believed belonged to Causer. Police were called, and the weapons identified as a double-barrelled shotgun of Spanish origin and an air rifle. The shotgun was in working order, but had light corrosion to the barrel.
Causer was interviewed in January of this year, and confirmed he used to work as an antiques dealer carrying out house clearances. He added that he couldn’t remember where the guns came from, but thought that he had purchased them several years ago.
Causer explained that he had been told the weapons were deactivated, and he intended to mount them on wooden plaques and sell them as ornaments, and told officers that he had moved the guns, along with other items of stock, to the attic when he was forced to close his business due to ill-health.
The court heard that while Causer had previous convictions, he had not been before the courts since 2002.
Speaking in mitigation, David Elvy said that Causer had paid £20 for both guns ‘very many years ago’, believing that they were not working.
“He never thought to check whether they had been deactivated,” he remarked, explaining that after Causer moved his surplus stock to the attic his relationship broke down and he ‘packed his bags and left’.
Mr Elvy noted that while police recovered the guns in 2016, Causer was not spoken to until this year, when he went to the police station to report a theft.
Pointing out that no ammunition was found Mr Elvy added that Causer accepted ‘he should never have purchased the guns in the first place’.
“This is one of the rare occasions when a custodial sentence is not appropriate,” he remarked.
District Judge Chris James told Causer that certification was required to keep weapons like this out of the hands of people who should not have access to them.
“This was a side-to-side two-barrel shotgun, which has no lawful use in these circumstances,” he added, noting that it had been in Causer’s possession for an extended period of time.
While he accepted that Causer had not intended to use the gun, Judge James pointed out that it was capable of being used.
Causer was given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and pay a total of £200 in costs and surcharge.
Baby died an hour after birth following ‘failings’ by Health Board
A BABY died just minutes after being born following failings by Hywel Dda Health Board, a damning report by the Public Services Ombudsman has found.
Callum James was born at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen on May 5, 2016, but died less than an hour later despite attempts to resuscitate him.
His parents, Ellie and Christopher James from Haverfordwest, complained that there had been a failure to monitor Callum’s development during pregnancy and to provide a birthing plan.
Mrs James also complained that the Health Board failed to respond to unusual pains during labour and to conduct necessary tests.
The report states there were also delays in Callum receiving treatment after he was born due to the First Consultant being sent to the wrong ward, delaying emergency treatment by 12 minutes.
The Health Board said that, in its view, there were no unnecessary delays in the attempts to resuscitate Callum, as the midwives in attendance had been trained in neonatal resuscitation.
In addition, the Ombudsman found that Callum’s death was also incorrectly registered as a stillbirth rather than neonatal death.
The report says Callum was ‘pale’ and ‘floppy’ at birth and immediately transferred to a resuscitation table where a team of medics worked for over half an hour to save his life.
The Ombudsman upheld the complaint that there had been a failure to monitor Callum’s development during pregnancy and labour and to provide a birthing plan.
Hywel Dda agreed to implement all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations, including providing Callum’s parents with an apology and £4,500 for the distress caused.
The Board also agreed to change Callum’s cause of death from ‘stillborn’ to ‘neonatal death’.
3,000 Welsh landlords still unregistered
JANET FINCH-SAUNDERS AM has called on the Welsh Government to urgently work to improve landlord registration under Rent Smart Wales, as estimates released indicate around 3,000 remain unregistered.
Ms Finch-Saunders said: “Rent Smart Wales estimates that still 3,000 landlords are unregistered here in Wales.
“Whilst that makes up a small percentage of our total landlords, it is most concerning for those living in properties leased to them by those who have not yet registered.
“The Welsh Government has confirmed that a landlord who is not registered with Rent Smart Wales is unable to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice – so where unregistered landlords do indicate that they want tenants to vacate a property, this is not recognised by local housing associations, which can cause stress to tenants who may not be aware of their full rights under the law.
“By focusing on ensuring that all landlords are properly registered, the Welsh Government can alleviate such concerns, and I will be urging the Cabinet Secretary to act to ensure all landlords are abiding by this legislation in full.”
The Minister for Housing and Regeneration told Ms Finch-Saunders that the latest figures released by Rent Smart Wales show that 90,812 landlords are now registered. Rent Smart Wales’ latest estimate for the number of unregistered landlords is approximately 3,000.
This is based on the dwelling stock estimates recently published by StatsWales, and an estimation of the average number of properties owned by each landlord.
Care home honour Armed Forces Day
PLAS Y DDERWEN in Johnstown will be celebrating Armed Forces Day on Thursday, June 28, with a big brew up supporting SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity.
SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families. Armed Forces Day is a chance to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.
Janet Williams, Activities Coordinator, said: “It is very important that we keep the memories of those who fought alive and that we also think about those involved in conflicts around the world today. We welcome anyone that wishes to attend and will have the chance to meet the team and look around the home.”
Plas Y Dderwen is part of Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers, supporting older people living independent lives over the last 25 years.
Barchester services include residential care and nursing care as well as expert dementia care.
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