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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 17:57 GMT
Ex-policeman acquitted of charge
A judge has condemned the prosecution of an ex-special branch officer accused of having 25 more bullets than he was entitled to under his firearms licence.

A jury took just six minutes to acquit retired Detective Constable Peter Adamson, 50, formerly of Ferndale Avenue, Portstewart.

Mr Adamson said he was picked on after he was cleared of passing on secret conversations at an earlier trial.

The Crown Court judge said bringing the case to court was a "waste of money".

During the three day trial in Ballymena, Mr Adamson said the extra bullets were in a box which he had never opened.

He said he believed he had been picked on because of an earlier trial when he was cleared of passing on secret phone conversations involving former Secretary of State Mo Mowlam to a journalist.


The court was told that the extra bullets were found during a search of Mr Adamson's house conducted under the Official Secrets Act which had led to the earlier court case last year, where he was acquitted of breaching the act after the Public Prosecution Service offered no evidence.

Mr Justice McLaughlin told the court that even if Mr Adamson had known he had the extra bullets, the case could have been dealt with by way of a warning, or a caution by police or a firearms licensing officer.

Speaking outside the court, defence barrister Laurence McCrudden QC said that in his many years involved with courts it was the fastest ever acquittal he had witnessed.

Mr McCrudden said his client had been unaware he had 50 bullets in his possession as opposed to the 25 he was licensed to have because he had never opened the box of bullets which was sent from an authorised gun dealer.

The defence said that in order to be convicted of being in possession of unlicensed bullets Mr Adamson had to know he had them.

They also said the authorised dealer had made a mistake by sending out 50 instead of 25.

Mr Adamson said he felt he had been "vindicated" by the court's decision.

"I believe I was picked on because sensitive material had been published which had embarrassed senior political figures," he said.

"For three years we have been under an intolerable strain which saw us having to leave our family home of 18 years in Portstewart."


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