Those looking down the running order of cases at Warwick Crown Court yesterday may have thought they'd mysteriously landed in the fictional, yellow-faced town of Springfield rather than the West Midlands.
In a scene that could easily have been lifted straight from the legendary FOX cartoon The Simpsons, the list showed that Bart Simpson would face sentencing at the hands of a judge called Mr Burns.
Barton Simpson, of Eccleshall, Staffordshire was caught at Birmingham airport with a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver in his hand luggage when attempting to board a flight to Croatia.
Standing in front of Mr Recorder Burns at Warwick Crown Court, Simpson was sentenced with a community order and told to 140 hours community work and pay the £80 legal costs.
Yet unlike the mischievous 10-year-old in the animated series - now into its 24th year - the 56-year-old company director had made an honest mistake.
Andrew Wilkins, prosecuting, told the court that Simpson normally kept the revolver at home, but due to having his flat redecorated, he decided to take it with him and lock it in his car.
However, he became distracted and mistakenly brought the gun, inherited from his father, into the airport with him.
Realising his error, “he put his hands to his face and hesitated before he then went through the personal metal detector,” Mr Wilkins said.
Due to the previous good character of Simpson, the prosecution had no reason to disagree with Simpson's reasoning.
Mr Recorder Burns, in this instance a respected law-enforcer, rather than the boss of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and Bart’s father Homer’s evil boss, told the culprit: “It was a very stupid thing you did. You must be punished for it, but I think you can be dealt with by way of a community order.”
A perplexed court worker said before the sentencing: “There were some eyebrows raised when the court list was published.
”It's a bizarre coincidence that Bart Simpson is actually on trial in front of Mr Burns but it'll proceed as any other criminal case would.“
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