Majorca nightlife magnate Tolo Cursach, on trial for the first of various charges which have been made against him, told a Palma court yesterday that a carbine shotgun that was found in his possession had belonged to a friend who had died eight or ten years previously. He said that he had never used the gun and had more or less forgotten that he had it under his bed.
According to Cursach, it was he who revealed the gun to police officers when his property was raided at the end of February last year. Officers found ammunition and asked him if he had a gun. He replied yes and produced it from under the bed. Although the gun was loaded, it was not prepared so that it could be fired. The cartridges that officers had found were for the farmer on his finca so that he could shoot down processionary caterpillar nests. However, this person "drank a lot", so his wife didn't want him having the cartridges.
Cursach confirmed that he had a gun permit from 1982 which had expired. He used to go with friends, all of whom have since died, on rabbit and hunting trips, although he only went in order to enjoy a snack with them and never actually shot animals. "I am an animal lover," he stated.
The inspector with the National Police who led the raid on the property told the court that five officers took part in the raid and that they were all in the bedroom on the top floor of the house when one of them reported finding ammunition. The inspector asked Cursach if he had a gun, and he confirmed that he did. An officer removed it from under the bed and not Cursach. The officer announced that the carbine was assembled and ready for firing. At this point, the inspector said, the defendant approached him and asked him in a quiet voice if he could "help him with the issue of the weapon". The inspector replied that he didn't run errands and that he wasn't there to help him.
The court also heard from the inspector that Cursach said that "the weapon was the least of his problems" and that the gun was for his defence. "It is a very large finca, and sometimes I am alone and am afraid."
The prosecutor, Miquel Ángel Subiran, has maintained his call for an eighteen-month sentence for the illegal possession of a firearm.
A Guardia Civil officer explained to the court that there was no evidence of the carbine having "legal status" in Spain. The weapon did not appear in the Guardia Civil's databases and nor did the name of Cursach as a legal possessor of arms. The officer added that a licence was needed to legally obtain the shotgun. The licence in Cursach's name had expired in 1987. As well as the gun, the necessary papers would have been required in order to acquire the cartridges. It is not legal, he said, to have more than 200 cartridges in one's possession (over 500 were found during the raid), while the 22 caliber carbine was not allowed for hunting, it is for Olympic shooting.
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