A former police officer appeared in Gosford Local Court charged with theft of a firearm, after police conducted an audit of their weapons and found a discrepancy.
After being discharged from the police force in 1990, due to a car accident and mental health issues, this man illegally retained the possession of a firearm that was his during his time on the force.
The man’s lawyer explained the extent of his client’s mental health issues and how they would have clouded his judgement when he decided to keep the firearm.
He also assured the judge that the man was attending sessions with a psychologist, and continues to do so.
The lawyer then requested leniency based on these health facts, and requested that the Magistrate would deal with the case under Section 10, but this plea was rejected, as Magistrate Bruce Williams believed this case was far too serious.
“Not only did you have the firearm on you, but you also lied to police when confronted,” said Magistrate, Bruce Williams, to the accused.
“We also had reports that you were using the firearm during ‘target shooting’ with a friend.
“So the constant use of the firearm over 27 years, and inconsistent statements, lead me to question how true your remorse is,” said Magistrate Williams.
The Magistrate also went on to say that although his mental health issues could have possibly clouded his judgement at the time of the theft, he has seemed to continue with his life in quite an ordinary fashion, attaining two degrees and working as a full time lecturer.
With this, the judge concluded that he’d had more than enough time to return the firearm, and that his conscious retention of the firearm in his possession threatened the community more than he knew.
The Magistrate sentenced the man to a suspended sentence of two years’ imprisonment, a good behaviour bond, and $1,800 worth of fines for possession of other unlicensed firearms.
Court notes, Nov 21
Gosford Local Court
Suzy Monzer, journalist