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SAS sniper appeals against gun conviction
8:06am Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
An SAS sniper jailed for illegally possessing a pistol and ammunition will ask the Court of Appeal to overturn his convictions today.
Sergeant Danny Nightingale, whose family live in the New Forest, was sentenced to 18 months military detention by a judge sitting in a military court, in early November 2012, after admitting illegally possessing a Glock 9mm pistol and more than 300 rounds of ammunition.
The Court of Appeal concluded in late November that the sentence was too harsh.
Three appeal judges cut the term to 12 months, said it should be suspended, and ordered Sgt Nightingale's release.
Lawyers representing Sergeant Nightingale, 38, whoses father Humphrey, 64, lives in Linford in the New Forest, are today scheduled to try to quash the conviction at another Court of Appeal hearing in London.
At the November appeal hearing, lawyers said Sergeant Nightingale had pleaded guilty because he thought that any sentence would be suspended. But prosecutors argued that the convictions were ''not unsafe'' and should not be overturned.
The three appeal judges were told that the gun had been a gift from Iraqi special forces soldiers Sergeant Nightingale had trained.
Sergeant Nightingale, who lives in Crewe planned to have the weapon decommissioned and keep it as a trophy, judges heard.
But, lawyers said, he appeared to have put it in a cupboard in army accommodation in Hereford on a ''very hectic day'' when preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.
Sergeant Nightingale, whose accommodation was not on the SAS base at Hereford, said he had not ''appreciated'' that he had the weapon.
Judges were told that Sergeant Nightingale had suffered medical problems which had affected his memory.