In Memoriam, Gary ‘Sparky’ Barket, and one of Bermuda’s most unusual jury trials involving possession of illegal firearms …

All North American visitors who enjoy their constitutional right to bear arms, would do well, before travelling to Bermuda, to remember the unusual Bermuda court case involving Gary ‘Sparky’ Barket, a securities lawyer from Little Rock, Arkansas.

He was arrested in January 2008 at Bermuda’s airport, when trying to leave Bermuda, for illegal possession of two handguns, and ammunition. He had placed these in his suitcase some months previously, and completely forgotten about them before his journey (and they had not been detected by airport security in the USA, or by customs, on his inbound flight to Bermuda).

The Bermuda jury unanimously acquitted him at his trial (at which he was represented by Saul Froomkin QC), after accepting that he had forgotten the guns in his case, and had only brought them to Bermuda by accident.

In an unusual legal move, the jury delivered their verdict even before (the late) Chief Justice Richard Ground had given his summing up and directions to the jury, having taken the Judge’s initial direction that they could acquit Mr. Barket straightaway, as long as they all agreed unanimously to do so.

Prior to his trial, Mr. Barket had spent five months in Bermuda (unexpectedly), awaiting his trial subsequent to his arrest, as his bail conditions did not permit him to travel.

Moral of the story? Please leave your guns at home!

The story was well-covered by US and Bermuda media at the time, and the reports are worth re-reading:

http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/trouble-in-paradise/Content?oid=862867

http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2008/06/25/revised-barket-acquitted-in-bermuda

http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20080630/NEWS/306309995

http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20080626/NEWS/306269981

Mr. Barket is reported to have sadly passed away in February 2014, but he will be well-remembered both in Little Rock, Arkansas, and in Bermuda:

http://www.rollerfuneralhomes.com/services.asp?page=odetail&id=33803&locid=

 

 

 

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