Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Thursday, 11 February 2010

Men cleared of banned weapon sale

Victor Morris
Police raided Victor Morris in August last year

The owner and director of a retailer in Glasgow city centre have been cleared of selling prohibited weapons.

Martin Morris and Thomas McAteer were arrested and accused of selling nanchucks at the Victor Morris store on Argyle Street in August last year.

But they were acquitted at Glasgow Sheriff Court following a submission of no case to answer.

Sheriff John McCormick agreed there was no evidence the men personally had the items in their possession or sold them.

The court earlier heard from two police officers who spotted the martial arts items for sale in the shop's window and applied for a warrant to search the store.

Two days later the shop was raided and Mr Morris and Mr McAteer were arrested.

We have been selling nanchucks since the 80s so I can't understand why all this has happened now
Martin Morris

The men's defence lawyers both submitted to the court that nanchucks were not offensive weapons but Sheriff McCormick refused to accept this.

Their argument that there was no evidence to suggest that the men had ever been in contact with the items or sold them, was however, accepted.

Sheriff McCormick said: "It is with some disappointment that I'm obliged to find that there is no case to answer.

"Mr Morris is the principal beneficiary of the trading of these weapons which figure regularly in these criminal courts.

"But Mr Morris is not a director, he is an employee and shareholder and the mere fact that his father's name is above the door and the fact that he is a key holder does not support the Crown's case.

"And as for Mr McAteer, there's no evidence that he either offered for sale or had the weapons in his possession when the police arrived.

"I therefore acquit both accused on the basis that there is no case to answer."

Police raids

Speaking outside court, Mr Morris said he was "delighted and relieved" he had been acquitted.

The businessman said: "Between 1987 and 2009 the shop has been raided nine times so this is just the latest in a long line of acquittals.

"We have been selling nanchucks since the 80s so I can't understand why all this has happened now.

"I've had officers in the shop looking, looking and looking again at the stock over the last few years and nothing has ever been said about the nanchucks.

"Everyone talks about how the shop has been criticised for selling certain things but no-one has ever come to us and asked to discuss it."

The shop on Argyle Street is now closing down.



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