Court Told British Sniper Jailed For Owning a Handgun Was Forced to Plead Guilty By Military Judge


Credit: Vladimir Dudak/wikicommons

A British court has heard that an SAS sniper who was given a jail sentence for illegally owning a Glock was pressured into pleading guilty by an army judge.

Sgt Danny Nightingale admitted that he had a 9mm Glock pistol and 338 rounds of ammunition in a court martial. Nightengale was given an 18-month sentence, although he was released early. The pistol was a gift that Nightengale received in Iraq. From The London Evening Standard:

The SAS sniper jailed for illegally having a pistol and ammunition was forced into pleading guilty by his court martial judge, the Appeal Court heard today.

Judge advocate Alistair McGrigor, who chaired the military board, put Sgt Danny Nightingale "under pressure" and "deprived him of a free choice," the court was told.

The judge told the soldier's then QC Ian Winter that Nightingale would get five years in a civilian prison if he denied the charges and was convicted. But if he pleaded guilty, there was a "very strong possibility" he would escape custody. 

Sgt Nightingale, 38, pleaded guilty but was jailed for 18 months in military detention in November last year.

He admitted illegally possessing a Glock 9mm pistol – given to him as a gift by overseas special forces he had trained – and more than 300 rounds of ammunition.

The U.K. has very strict gun laws, which Nick has discussed here.

A book on prohibitions edited by King's College London professor John Meadowcroft and published by my old stomping ground the Institute of Economic Affairs has a chapter on firearms with the following two graphs that suggest that the causal relationship between strict gun laws (like those in Australia and the U.K) and less homicides is not as easy to establish as some gun control advocates seem to think.  

Homicide trend in Australia compared to the U.S.:

Credit: "Prohibitions" Edited by John Meadowcroft, Published by the IEA

Homicide rates in the U.S. compared with homicide rates in England and Wales:

Credit: "Prohibitions" Edited by John Meadowcroft, Published by the IEA

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  1. What’s the point in showing compared trends when the E&W line topped out at 2.5 per while the US is bottomed out at 6 per?

    1. I think they are just showing the trend went up after a ban in E & W, whereas heavily armed USA has been trending downward?

      Sort of confusing graph.

    2. The article refers to the graphs as

      the following two graphs that suggest that the causal relationship between strict gun laws (like those in Australia and the U.K) and less homicides is not as easy to establish as some gun control advocates seem to think.

      That’s the point.

      1. I get that the overall selling point is the trend and not necessarily the number. It seems to me, though, that someone trying to defend the ban would say something like “see, even though the line trended up for a bit it still topped out way below the US rates.”

        1. And that would make no sense. If the rate was always below U.S. rates, and trended up after the ban, while the U.S. trended down without a ban, then obviously the presence of a ban at best has no effect on homicide rates.

        2. Yes, but the point as that the gun ban is not the causal factor in E&W’s homicide rate being lower than the U.S.’s

        3. But it started out lower before the handgun ban in ’97. If there’s anything misleading, it’s that there have probably any number of changes in gun laws in all countries over the periods described.

          1. The graph is pointless without adding in the the percent of the population that is young, male and libertarian, and how many violent gun crimes occur per 100 hours of television and how many violent video games are played per person per week and how many controlled substances are banned by the government.

    3. I think a better metric would be to compare the overall violent crime rates in E&W and Australia with the US’s. Homicide rates probably don’t change a whole lot regardless of what the gun laws are. If you want to kill someone you’re probably going to do it one way or another. But I suspect that overall violent crime (armed robbery, assault, rape, etc.) is probably up quite a bit after the gun bans. It’s a lot easier to work up the “courage” to rob or assault someone if you can reasonably assume they aren’t armed.

  2. Thank goodness the English have time to worry about this strict liability gun possession nonsense. It’s not as though people are being stabbed to death on the bus or hacked to pieces with swords.

    Did I forget to mention that guns are icky? Because they totally are.

  3. Gun ownership is a psychosis.

  4. Why did Rand Paul filibuster? Why, black helicopters, of course.

    1. Anson Kaye, a senior vice president at the democratic advertising firm GMMB, is a former chief of staff on Capitol Hill with extensive campaign experience, most recently as a key member of the Obama 2012 media team.

      At least it was written by an unbiased journalist.

      1. But Sparky, Full Disclosure.
        That makes it all OK.

        Why are you laughing?

        1. Also, I’m assured that ties to government officials do not make one biased. If he had received any money from business, however…

      2. God, and check out one of this asshole’s recent tweets: “anti-soda ban fanatics discover shadowy federal agency that’s (gasp) been regulating food for years. Rumored to be called the FDA.”

        Guess what, motherfucker. The FDA may be the single worst thing about the federal government, and I’ve known about that for years.

        1. single worst thing about the federal government

          Not while the IRS, BATF, CIA, FBI and Homeland Suckurity exist, IMHO.

          But it’s roughly “got next”…:)

          1. It’s obviously a very tough call, but I have a feeling that the unseen damage of the FDA is truly vast.

            1. it is part and parcel to the drug war so yes, it’s in the running for worst.

        2. “Anti-soda ban fanatics”? You mean people who care about minority owned businesses?

      3. I initially read that as GIMME but that would be too honest.

    2. The cognitive dissonance required to write that column must have been staggering. “The Right would have called Kucinich an unserious loon if he had filibustered against drones, but Rand Paul is an unserious loon because he filibustered against drones.”


    3. Also Warty, we’re all pulling for you in the Papal Conclave.

      1. He’s just like a Borgia.

        1. A lot of popes talk about the End of Days, Warty is the only one willing to do something about.

      2. Screw that – as a non-Roman Catholic, my support is staunchly behind Father Guido Sarducci.

    4. Honestly, what kind of transformation would have to happen in the United States for the federal government to start using attack drones to secretly assassinate American dissenters?

      Um, like virtually no transformation at all?

      Like, that’s exactly what Holder was saying?

      Like, al-Awlaki’s son?

      Like, can I get a “Waco” up in here?

      Fuckin’ a, people. Also, motherfucker needs an editor. “Hosannas” doesn’t need an apostrophe.

      1. A little incensed over this one?

        1. I really hate misused apostrophes.

          1. I think you mean “misus’ed apostrophe’s”

          2. The crux of the biscuit is the apostrophe, so I can understand that.

          3. You must really hate the elvish language.

        2. nicole takes apostrophes seriously.

      2. How can you be sure it doesn’t? Language is shamefully unregulated in this country. We need a Department of Language to decide these matters of syntax.

      3. motherfucker needs an editor. “Hosannas” doesn’t need an apostrophe.

        That too. Like I can take anything seriously written by a “journalist” who doesn’t understand the difference between possessive and plural nouns.

      4. Oh, and I totally have a boner for Michael Huemer now, thanks to you. He should probably squat more, though.

        1. Am I going to have to fight you for him? Because…I think I’ll lose.

          1. I dunno. I don’t have any defense against fingernails to the eyes.

    5. Because America would never enslave euthanize intern drone Americans.

    6. Imagine for a moment that Dennis Kucinich had somehow been elected to the Senate. A Republican president sends his CIA chief nominee up to the Hill for confirmation. We’re at war abroad, with terrorists still apparently intent on doing us harm here at home. And in the middle of all that, Kucinich decides to filibuster because he hasn’t received assurances that the administration won’t use new technologies to kill Americans.

      Under that scenario, the howl of righteous outrage on talk radio and elsewhere would be deafening. Kucinich would be putting politics over national security. He would be a far-left loon, with radical ideas. And some might go so far to question what someone contemplating such nefarious possibilities must think about their country.

      First of all, that was precisely the reaction of many left wingers. Or perhaps this douche nozzle didn’t catch Lawrence O’Donnell’s show.

      Secondly, as for “the howl of righteous outrage on talk radio and elsewhere would be deafening” – prove it. The president isn’t an EVUL RETHUGLICAN, he’s his precious Dear Leader. Own it asshole.

      1. Imagine for a moment that John McCain had somehow been elected President. We’re involved in several wars abroad, with the FBI breaking up terrorist plots at home every other week, with would-be terrorists apparently intent on doing us great harm if they had access to the FBI’s weapons and covert planning assistance. In the middle of all that, OWS somehow gets Dennis Kucinich elected Senator from Vermont, and he decides to filibuster McCain’s refusal to rule out killer drone strikes on American citizens gathering in coffee shops to conspire against the government.

        The Left would be protesting in the streets, displaying “Dennis for Prez” signs, and calling for McCain’s impeachment and trial for war crimes.

    7. Oh my God! JC! A bomb!

      1. A Deus Ex reference. I like you. Have this:

  5. No shame. Gotta love this line: “Many on the left, at least having the benefit of consistency, applaud him.” I don’t recall hearing much applause from the left, just outrage that that someone dare criticize Dear Leader because, but Boooosh.

    1. Many on the left, at least having the benefit of consistency…

      HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

  6. That was meant in response to Warty’s link.

  7. Goddammit Warty.

  8. What a quaint, backward little culture they have over there.

  9. I remember when people used to call U S News a right wing propaganda outfit.

  10. Using homicides as a metric is useless. Homicide just means “killed by a another person”, even if the “victim” is killed in self defense, even by police stopping a crime.

    Plus the fact these charts aren’t even firearm homicides make them even less relevant to the issue at hand.

    1. Useless. Sort of like counting suicides for the purpose of inflating “gun death” numbers?

    2. I don’t think it is completely irrelevant as the claim is that reducing gun ownership will reduce killing.

  11. What a great way to treat your veterans. 18 months.

  12. A lot of popes talk about the End of Days, Warty is the only one willing to do something about.

    An iron fist in an iron glove.

    Holding a great big hammer.

    1. He would probably be the first Pontiff to promise to build a pyramid of human skulls as tall as Saint Peter’s.

      1. Holy rollers gonna roll

    2. Pope Warty

      “Look upon me, unbelievers, and despair.”

      1. There’s a seagull preening & shitting all over the Sistine chimney right now. Seems like it might be a portent of Warty’s ascendence.

  13. Wait, isn’t this what prosecutors here in ‘Murica do ALL THE FUCKING TIME? What’s the differecne and why does it matter? Because it was a judge? I mean, I get that they screwed this guy, but I’m not sure why I should be any more outraged that they held the threat of longer sentence over his head.

  14. Gun control laws are so powerful that, in Australia, the 1997 ban caused the homicide rate to start falling in 1991!

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