A defendant called Bart Simpson stood trial in front of a judge – called MR BURNS.
Company Director Barton Simpson, 56, denied possessing a prohibited firearm at Birmingham airport on May 31 last year. Simpson, of Eccleshall, Staffs., stood trial in front of Mr Recorder Burns at Warwick Crown Court this week. He was found to have been carrying a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver in his luggage – a scrape not too dissimilar to something fictional cartoon character Bart Simpson would find himself in.
Bart Simpson is the fictional yellow star in the hit sitcom The Simpsons while Charles Montgomery Burns is his frequent nemesis and nuclear power plant owner who employs Bart’s dad, Homer.
Simpson, a director of a letting agency, was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 140 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay #800. Mr. Burns told Simpson: “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.”
Simpson had the weapon in a bag which went through an X-ray machine ahead of a flight to Croatia on May 31 last year. He told police the gun, passed down by his scrap dealer father, was a “curio” which he forgot was in the holdall.
Simpson, of Eccleshall, Staffs., initially denied a charge of possessing a prohibited firearm. But on the day he was due to stand trial he admitted an alternative offence of possessing a dangerous article in an airport.
Andrew Wilkins, prosecuting, said Simpson normally kept the revolver at his home and realised his mistake almost immediately. He said: “He put his hands to his face and hesitated before he then went through the personal metal detector. The reason he said he had it with him, and there is no reason to disagree, was that he was having work done on his flat while he was travelling and did not want it to come into the hands of the decorator.”
Mr Wilkins said his intention had been to leave it locked in his car, but he was distracted because of circumstances including the death of a friend and of his son, a serving soldier. Talbir Singh, defending, said it appeared the gun had never been discharged until it was fired by experts who tested it for the court case. He said Simpson would have to relinquish his company directorship to two others, impacting on his income.
A court worker said: “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.
“There were some eyebrows raised when the court list was published.”