SAS sniper Danny Nightingale to appeal against conviction over gun


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The Independent Online

Former SAS sniper Sergeant Danny Nightingale is to appeal against his conviction for illegally possessing a gun and ammunition, his lawyer has said.

Simon McKay said he lodged papers at the Court of Appeal yesterday against the two years military detention suspended for 12 months imposed on the 38-year-old special forces soldier by a military court last month.

Nightingale, from Crewe in Cheshire, was originally jailed for 18 months last year for the offences but had his sentence cut and then quashed by the Court of Appeal after an outcry over his treatment spearheaded by his family in the media.

"I lodged the appeal against his conviction yesterday at the Royal Courts of Justice," Mr McKay said.

He said he expected the case would be dealt with in the normal way, because Nightingale is not in jail this time.

Nightingale was found guilty of having a 9mm Glock pistol and 338 rounds of ammunition in the bedroom of his shared army house. He said he had no knowledge of the weapon and suggested it had been put there by someone else - a friend and fellow SAS soldier known only as soldier N.

He walked from court a free man but, along with his wife Sally and father Humphrey, he left with a stinging rebuke from the judge who described their 22-month campaign to clear his name as misleading and uninformed and said any notion the special forces soldier was a scapegoat was "absolute nonsense".

After the second trial, Nightingale's family said the legal process had already cost them £120,000 and put great strain on the couple, who have two children.

The soldier, who served in the former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan in an 18-year career, has received a medical discharge which will commence on February 14 next year. Until then he remains in the Army.

He had pleaded not guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm between November 26, 2007 and September 16, 2011, and also denied possession of the ammunition on or about September 16, 2011.

The gun was originally said to have been brought back from Iraq and was recovered by civilian police in September 2011 in the rented house Nightingale then shared with another soldier.

The pistol was found in Nightingale's wardrobe and ammunition was under his bed in a plastic box.

Nightingale claimed he had no knowledge of them being in his bedroom.

Previously he had said the gun had been brought back from Iraq and it was a gift from Iraqis he had trained. The court heard he received a head injury during an endurance marathon in 2009 that affected his memory and that had caused confusion called confabulation where someone fabricates, distorts or misinterprets memories about incidents.