TWO brothers who brandished an imitation firearm in a pub on a Chester estate have been found guilty after a two day trial.
Lee Robert Ward, 31, and Scott Ward, 24, both of Wordsworth Crescent, were both found guilty by a unanimous verdict over the incident, which took place at the Waggon and Horses pub in Blacon.
The trial had heard Lee Ward had walked into the venue, in Weston Avenue, brandishing a sawn off shotgun and held it in the face of another man, in the early hours of Saturday, January, 14.
Both defendants had maintained their innocence throughout the case, saying the alleged weapon had been the extension of a pool cue which had been part of a “practical joke”.
But the jury of eight men and four women took only about two hours to find Lee and Scott Ward guilty of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and affray. At one point they had asked the court to once again be shown stills from the CCTV footage, as well as the video itself.
The family of the two defendants could be heard crying in the courtroom as the verdict was read out. The defendants, who were both dressed in black, did not express any emotion.
Earlier in the case, the jury had heard from firearms expert Mark Murray-Flutter, from the national firearms centre, who had said he believed the weapon was “likely” a firearm, which was an imitation, deactivated or a replica.
After his arrest, Lee Ward said he had not intended to cause fear or act in an intimidating manner, and told police he had been just “larking about”.
The prosecution had said the incident was the result of a joint enterprise between the Ward brothers.
Geoffrey Lowe , prosecuting, said: “We say only Lee Ward was in possession of what was at least an imitation firearm. But his brother Scott Ward actively went along with everything his brother was doing. Lee Ward says he was in possession of an extension of a pool cue, not a gun.”
CCTV footage shown to the court showed Scott Ward appearing to shout in Mr Parry’s face minutes before Lee Ward was filmed pulling out the firearm and placing his finger on the trigger and aiming it at Mr Parry.
But giving evidence, Lee Ward had told the jury the whole matter had been a practical joke to get his friends to hurry up and leave the pub so they could go to a party. He said he did not own a gun and did not have one on him that night, and denied using the object as though it was a gun.
Lee Ward had added he had taken the object with him, although he did not know what had happened to it after they left pub.
The two men are to be sentenced today at Chester Crown Court by the Recorder of Chester Judge Elgan Edwards.
See full story in the Chester Leader