Chatteris man loses firearm conviction

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A former Ministry of Defence contractor who was convicted of having firearms accessories has failed in an Appeal Court bid to clear his name.

Matthew Yong, 35, who has a PhD in aeronautical engineering, was arrested after police found the equipment at his home in Ash Grove, Chatteris, in 2012.

The items were two flash inhibitors, devices which attach to gun muzzles to disguise the visible signs of firing.

Yong said the items were for legitimate scientific research, but admitted two counts of having a firearm without a certificate in January last year.

The Peterborough Crown Court judge ruled that the inhibitors were ‘accessories’ to a controlled firearm, giving him no defence to the charge.

Although he was given only a conditional discharge, Yong took his case to the Court of Appeal.

The judge had been wrong to find that he had no defence, his lawyers claimed.

Three senior judges dismissed the appeal and upheld Yong’s convictions on May 21.

Yong had agreed in correspondence that, in his research, he had tested the devices with an assault rifle using military grade ammunition.

“That material shows that the firearm described as being used in conjunction with the flash eliminators was a lethal barrelled weapon,” said Lord Justice Treacy. He was sitting with Mr Justice Nicol and Judge Simon Tonking.