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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 21:57 GMT 22:57 UK
So Solid star jailed over gun
Jason Phillips
Jason Phillips wrote the hit 21 Seconds
So Solid Crew member Jason Phillips has been jailed for four years after being found guilty of possessing a loaded handgun.

Phillips, who is known as G-Man and wrote the hit 21 Seconds, dumped the gun as police chased him from the scene of a suspected drugs deal in London's West End.

Sentencing Phillips, the trial judge said he was certain he had the gun for "bravado and the thrill of having it, rather than the intention of using it".

Phillips is the second member of the controversial group to receive a custodial sentence for possessing a gun and the band have faced repeated attacks over claims they glamorise gun culture.

The Victims of Crime Trust condemned Phillips' sentence as "nonsense", and said the judge should have sent out a strong message by handing him a longer prison term.

It director, Norman Brennan, said Phillips' crime made a farce of his bandmates' participation in a campaign urging young people to stop carrying guns.

DNA proof

Phillips was arrested soon after he had apparently taken the gun into a West End film première last November.

Ashley Walters
Ashley Walters served time in a young offenders' institute
During the trial at Southwark Crown Court the jury heard that Phillips looked "agitated and nervous" before running from plain clothes police officers.

He had been seen tugging at his pocket and after the chase an ME9 handgun containing seven rounds was found on top of refuse sacks.

Phillips, who is So Solid crew's executive producer, had denied possessing a weapon but his DNA was found on the gun.

The musician was arrested at the same time as band member Shane "Kaish" Neil, but gun and drug charges were later dropped against him.

'Immense dangers'

Sentencing Phillips, Judge James Wadsworth QC said: "Quite apart from the work you do in the music world, you are in a position from the way in which you have grown up in this town to know the immense dangers that there are in having that sort of weapon."

He said the gun was loaded and "well capable of being used to kill".

Phillips' lawyers said they were considering whether to appeal against the sentence.

A spokesman said: "The solicitors representing Jason Phillips are reviewing the jury's verdict and the sentence, and will be considering the matter further."

Inciting violence

Phillips' conviction is the latest in a series of controversies to hit So Solid Crew.

Somebody needs to say 'Actually we are singing about these things but we are not suggesting you go out there and do it'
Lee Jasper

Last year Phillips' bandmate Ashley Waters was sentenced to 18 months in a young offenders' institution for possessing a loaded gun. He later joined a government anti-gun campaign.

Another band member - Darren Weir - was convicted of breaking a 16-year-old female fan's jaw and in 2001 another So Solid member was shot in the leg after a confrontation outside a nightclub.

The race adviser to the London mayor, Lee Jasper, attacked bands like So Solid Crew for inciting violence and glorifying thug culture.

He said he was concerned about a link between street violence and the language used in music.

Mr Jasper said: "Somebody needs to say 'Actually we are singing about these things but we are not suggesting you go out there and do it'.

"'We are not suggesting we are those bad boys. What we are talking about is a way of life and reflecting it'."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Nicola Pearson
"The group has courted controversy and their lyrics have become associated wih violence"



SEE ALSO:
So Solid Crew star cleared
04 Jun 03  |  UK
So Solid star heads gun campaign
03 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Six jailed for music fan murder
04 Jul 02  |  England
Garage star jailed for gun crime
25 Mar 02  |  Entertainment
Race adviser attacks So Solid Crew
28 Feb 02  |  Entertainment


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