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Dad must pay Kent Police £2,250 after gun licence appeal refused at Canterbury Crown Court

A dad’s gun licence bid has been thwarted after a judge branded him “unfit to be trusted with a deadly firearm”.

Damion Barnes from Littlebourne, told Kent Police he required a powerful .22 calibre rifle for hunting vermin and target shooting.

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

But the 43-year-old misled the authorities on his application form after changing his name three times, to hide his criminal record and “intemperate” short fuse.

Judge Simon James told Barnes his “deliberate lack of frankness” was indicative of someone shrouded in “secrecy and privacy”.

“A .22 rifle is not the most effective rifle for vermin control - (you) are not fit to be trusted with a deadly firearm,” he said.

Now Barnes has been ordered to pay £2,250 costs for the appeal after Kent Police's chief constable threw out the original application.

Going by the name Rashid Farooq, Barnes in 2006 was convicted at trial of harassing his former partner and jailed for 24 weeks.

Judge Simon James
Judge Simon James

Having changed his name to Taff Morgan in 2013, Barnes successfully launched a shotgun licence bid after failing to disclose the conviction.

Police in 2015 seized the weapon following further allegations of violence. Barnes, who works with animals, soon changed his name to Solomon Barnes-Knight.

He was then handed a community order for animal cruelty in 2018 after leaving a dog inside a car.

Prosecutors told the court Barnes became threatening towards police officers assisting the RSPCA - claims he denied.

Under his fourth name Damion Barnes, and with the help of wife Sarah Knight, a Kent Police investigations officer, he launched another firearms licence application.

“Lawfully possessing a firearm is a privilege not a right...”

But Barnes’ GP surgery declared to police he had a history of depression, difficulties controlling his temper, a suspected personality disorder and was in treatment for ADHD at London’s Maudsley Hospital.

Legally, applicants must declare their medical history under the Firearms Act.

Giving evidence, Barnes said the records were mistaken, he was not formally diagnosed and never became aggressive towards police.

Echoing his account, Mrs Knight added she helped with the second application form and “had never seen (Barnes) angry.”

His barrister Graham Gilbert added Barnes’ learning difficulties had led to confusion over which box to tick when declaring previous convictions and he had never been formally diagnosed with a personality disorder.

But prosecutor Tom Dunn poured cold water over the claims, explaining: “This presents a troubling picture when one considers the question of risk.

“We say simply, that it is absolutely obvious reading that form - it asked if there were any previous convictions.

“Lawfully possessing a firearm is a privilege not a right.”

Barnes, of The Elders in Littlebourne, near Canterbury, was ordered to pay £2,250 legal fees for the appeal heard at Canterbury Crown Court on Thursday, April 8.

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