David W. Dyson: Firearms Consultant
01484 607 331
www.firearmsexpert.co.uk Alternatively, email enquiries directly to email@example.com
Firearms legislation has undergone many changes in recent years. However, a distinct lack of clarity and apparent contradictions make it an area fraught with danger for the unwary.
David Dyson is a firearms and weapons expert with over 30 years experience in the fields of gun law, firearms law and weapons law. He specialises in all aspects of firearms law, related legal cases gun law, firearms law, weapons law and shotgun law.
A Master of Laws (Distinction) in Firearms Legislation in the UK, David also holds experience and expertise in all sub-specialities of ballistics. David's areas of expertise lie in:
• air weapons
• pistols & revolvers
• disguised firearms
• gunshot residues
• explosive & bombs
Advising on civil and criminal law: criminal charges, negligence, liability issues and technical interpretation, David Dyson is a Professional Member of the Forensic Science Society, a member of The Society of Expert Witnesses. He is also listed on the UK Register of Expert Witnesses, a Member of the Expert Witness Institute and a Registered Firearms Dealer.
With an in depth understanding of the classification of weapons under provisions of the Firearms Act, David is able to provide a critical appraisal of forensic and expert reports and the testing and examination of weapons of all types; guns, edged weapons and related items.
In a recent article, David explained the role of an expert firearms consultant and the challenge that they may face:
'It has often been said that the classification of firearms is a mixed question of fact and law, with experts instructed both by the prosecution and defence applying legal classifications. But the vast majority of firearms experts have no legal qualifications.
Specific charges brought under the Firearms Acts can be particularly susceptible to the opinions of experts because they are often based completely on their classification in law of the exhibits.
Increasingly though, and as a result of fiscal cut-backs Police Forces are relying more on in-house examiners rather than incurring the expense of specialised external forensic providers. Some Police Examiners are very good, but there have been many instances where David Dyson has been able to identify errors in classifications which have resulted in charges carrying a minimum mandatory 5 year custodial sentence being dropped. The prosecution examiner simply got it wrong.
When an examiner instructed by the defence approaches his task he will normally have the benefit of knowing how the prosecution classify the weapon, and will certainly address the conclusions of the prosecution report, but before looking at the precise detail, it is important not to forget the basics.
The defence expert should also be expected to consider the test procedures and protocols adopted by the prosecution; was anything done to the weapon before it could be fired? was conventional ammunition used or were modifications made to allow discharge? If the gun was not capable of discharging any shot or bullet when seized did it conform to the definition of a firearm at that time?
Prosecution examiners frequently neglect to consider the issue of antiquity, particularly if the firearm is capable of discharging currently available ammunition, or is of a ‘modern' design, but such factors do not feature in statute, and dismissal of the possibility that a firearm might be an antique may reflect the way the examiner would wish the law to be, rather than the way it is.
Adherence to these principles is perhaps changing, but solicitors should ensure that the expert they instruct has been consistent in his approach.
In summary, no-one is perfect and prosecution experts, whether employed by the police or by other forensic providers can get it wrong, or may apply what some might consider inappropriate principles. A robust expert instructed by the defence such as David Dyson will critically assess every aspect of the prosecution evidence.'
'Instructions accepted throughout the UK and Ireland' David Dyson can be contacted on 01484 607 331 .