Derbyshire police officer cleared of air weapons conviction

editorial image

A police officer has been cleared of an air weapons conviction - after prosecutors admitted he had been wrongly charged.

David Anthony Burden was handed a two-year suspended sentence at Derby Crown Court in July last year, after admitting a charge of possessing a prohibited firearm.

But he was today cleared of any wrongdoing by judges sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, who said he should never have been charged with that offence in the first place.

The court heard Mr Burden, 40, who lives near Bolsover, failed to report for duty in November 2014.

He had recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was on restricted duties at the time.

When officers went to his house to check on him, they found him ‘worse for wear’ after drinking alcohol and in an emotional state.

He placed a small air pistol on the table and, when asked if there were any other weapons in the house, he showed the officers an air-powered revolver.

After being charged with the offence of having a banned weapon, Mr Burden entered a guilty plea.

However, his lawyers argued - and lawyers for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) agreed - that his conviction was ‘unlawful’ and should be quashed.

CPS lawyers also said Mr Burden should not face any further proceedings.

Clearing his name, Lady Justice Sharp - sitting with Mr Justice Supperstone and Judge Paul Farrer QC - said: “The conviction was wrong in law.

“We are not invited to make any further order and we do not do so.”