UK: Falmouth Solicitor (Head of Probate) Left Gun In Back Of Car While At Supermarket – Gets Busted & Fined

The Law Soc Gazette

A solicitor who was found to have left a shotgun and ammunition bag on the back seat of his car has been fined £2,000 following an investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

William Richards, of Falmouth firm Hine Downing LLP, was reported to police for driving ‘erratically’. He attended the local police station and provided two breath samples that showed he had driven his car while over the drink drive limit.

When police went to check Richards’ car, which had been left at a supermarket, officers found a firearms case, containing one shotgun and an ammunition bag, on the back seat.

Richards admitted driving a motor vehicle when his level of alcohol was above the legal limit and of failing to comply with the condition of a shotgun certificate in August 2022 at Truro Magistrates Court.

He was sentenced to a 17-month driving ban, reduced by 17 weeks on completion of a drink drivers awareness course, to give up the rights to own a 12-bore shotgun and cartridges and ordered to pay fines totalling £1,307 plus £85 costs and a £131 victim surcharge.

Richards notified the SRA that he had been charged and then convicted by email.

The regulator said Richards made admissions ‘that by virtue of his conduct and conviction, he failed to behave in a way which upholds public trust and confidence in the solicitors’ profession and in legal services provided by authorised persons’.

The SRA found mitigating circumstances included no lasting harm, Richards’ prompt reporting of the charges and convictions as well as his co-operation with the investigation and his ‘insight and remorse for his actions.’

The basic penalty considered by the authority was reduced as a result of mitigation and Richards was fined £2,000. He must also pay the costs of the investigation of £300.