A German pensioner was found guilty of illegal possession of weapons after a personal arsenal, including a WWII Panther tank, was found at his home.
The District Court of the city of Kiel sentenced the 84-year-old man to 14 months of suspended imprisonment and payment of a 250 thousand euros fine for unauthorized possession of weapons: a tank without tracks, a torpedo, a cannon, a grenade launcher, pistols, rifles and ammunition. All this was found in 2015 in the basement of the house of the accused in the city of Heikendorf. The police then confiscated the collection almost immediately after discovery with the assistance of the Bundeswehr. The investigation has continued for the past six years.
As noted by the NDR, in essence, the proceedings concerned the issue of whether tanks and artillery installations fell under the law on the control of weapons that can be used for warfare and, therefore, whether they are prohibited from being privately owned. On the basis of several expert opinions, the court considered the artillery a weapon of war, but decided to commute the sentence due to the old age of the man, lack of convictions and voluntary confession of what he had done.
Four months out of fourteen, the judge counted as served, due to the protracted trial, but the pensioner’s tank and gun were ordered to be sold. According to the man’s lawyers, a museum from Seattle (USA) is interested in the tank, and a private collector from North Rhine-Westphalia is going to purchase the artillery mount.
“Panther” – German medium tank of the Second World War. Developed by MAN in 1941-1942 as a response to the appearance on the fronts of the Soviet T-34 tank. It was equipped with a 75 mm KwK 42 cannon and was powered by a V-shaped 12-cylinder Maybach HL230 engine with a working volume of 23 liters.