NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Thief jailed for 'unwittingly' stealing gun freed

A thief from Moray jailed for five years for "unwittingly" stealing a gun from the house of a widow has been freed by appeal judges.

Guy Whitelaw, 29, from Forres, told police he discovered the handgun in a cash box he took from the house.

Whitelaw admitted having the gun and was given minimum jail term for illegal possession of a firearm in July.

Appeal judges ruled imposing the minimum term was "an arbitrary and disproportionate sentence".

Defence counsel Claire Mitchell argued it was an "absolutely exceptional case".

Lord Clarke, sitting with Lord Philip at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, substituted a sentence of six months' imprisonment.

Whitelaw had already served the equivalent of a 16-month jail term.

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