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Machete wielding Pagan off the hook

magMAGISTRATES found that a man did have a good reason to be holding a machete and an axe at Haverfordwest Law Courts on Monday (Dec 15). Aaron Simpson, aged 23, of Maeshenffordd in Cardigan, pleaded not guilty to two charges of possessing the two items. The magistrates heard how Simpson is a Pagan and that he was going to collect wood to start a small fire to help clear his head following an argument with his mother. Prosecuting, Nick Newton said: “This incident occurred in the early hours of October 24, 2014 at around 1.20am. “PC Garney was on duty in an unmarked police car on Maeshenffordd when he saw Mr Simpson walking in the street and noticed that he was not wearing a top.

“The officer saw the man put two items on the ground before approaching the police car. When the officer asked who he was, he became confrontational, claiming ‘everyone knows who I am’ and stated that he was just out for a walk. “After a short while, the officer went back to him again and informed him that he was going to search him, as he suspected he had something he shouldn’t have. “He put his stuff on the floor and pulled his trousers down, saying ‘is that good enough for you officer?’

The officer called for a temporary sergeant to attend the area and informed him when he arrived that he was going to search the area where he had first spotted Mr Simpson. “He heard Simpson shout ‘you’ll find an axe and a machete up there’. He picked up the items, which were an axe and a machete. Simpson said ‘I told you there was an axe and a machete. He told the officers that he had previously had an argument with his mother and that he was going to collect wood to start a small fire to clear his head.”

A recording of his interview at the station was then played to the court and when Simpson was asked why he put the items on the ground he said: “I could hear a car coming and I didn’t want to make anyone feel ill at ease.” Simpson also told the court that he has had noise abatement notices to his flat and he has been told not to burn certain things but added he has not been told that he cannot start a fire.

He also told the magistrates that he is a qualified tree surgeon, and he listed a number of other similar qualifications that he has. Summing up the prosecution case Nick Newton added: “If you decide to cut wood, you wouldn’t walk down the street with no top on. The items would not be on display and you would not be confrontational with the police. Defending, Robin Reed said: “He is a Pagan and he believes in living off the land and at this time he was observing the pagan festival known as Samhain.

“He is quite proud of those items as he has restored them himself. They are used for cutting wood and they have no other purpose. “He did tell the officers what he was doing and he explained his account in great detail. “In terms of placing the items down this was quite a sensible thing to do as he didn’t want a confrontation with anybody. There has been no threat to use the items at any point”. Magistrates found that he did have a good reason to hold the axe and the machete and found him not guilty of the offence citing that he has an alternative lifestyle. They also warned him that he should be aware of others when out and about in the future.

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Dayne Stone

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