A York antiques dealer has been found not guilty of using a firearm to cause fear of violence after a roofer claimed he had fired at him during renovation work on his barn.
Jonathan Braganza, 62, a master silversmith and engraver who runs York Minster Antiques, fired a 12-bore shotgun into the air after builders allegedly destroyed part of his barn at his farm in High Eggborough near Selby.
He was arrested and charged with two counts of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence but was found not guilty on both counts at York Crown Court on Wednesday (13 July) following a three-day trial.
Prosecutor Nadim Bashir alleged that Mr Braganza had fired one of the shots at a builder and one into the air, but Mr Braganza insisted both shots were aimed “vertically” and nowhere near the roofers.
The jury believed Mr Braganza’s version of events and that his actions were reasonable and in protection of his property.
Mr Braganza – whose antiques business was formerly based in York city centre but has since relocated to a shop in Pontefract – admitted firing the 12-bore shotgun into the air but claimed there was no intent to aim the shots anywhere near the men and that he only wanted to get them off the barn.
He and his wife called police and waited in the farmhouse until officers arrived.
Mr Braganza was arrested and told officers that the roofers were “going berserk” and that it was like a “feeding frenzy – like a party gone wrong”.
He saw the roofers “hauling all the timber down (from the barn roof) and pulling down the gable end”.
He said he asked them to get down and then fired two shots into the air, but at least one of the roofers stayed put.
The builder with whom he had the initial spat was arrested on suspicion of affray and given a police caution.
Mr Braganza walked free from court after being cleared by the jury.