Overview - A British ex-soldier finds a sawed off shotgun dumped in his garden. Knowing it to be an illegal item, he carries the shotgun in a plastic bag to the police to turn it in. He is promptly thrown in jail and convicted of the illegal possession of firearms, with two years jail time.
One British policeman, commenting privately on the matter:
His explanation, summed up, is basically that boomsticks are alien devices that could explode and fire off rounds at any time by being carried about town in a plastic bag, and that this is why the guy is being charged.
While I can somewhat see the argument, personally I would have to argue that a reasonable person, English or no, isn’t going to be magically imbued with the knowledge that taking illegal items to the police to turn them in is itself a crime. He is more likely going to view it as his civic duty. An ex-soldier, in particular, is going to be aware that the boomstick won’t explode and so he can’t be expected to be so fearful of it as to not touch it. Simply based on the reasonable person standard of law, this conviction doesn’t seem to follow any sense beyond blind adherence to the rules.