Unsecured guns and ammo land two southwest men in court
Two elderly men have earnt a date with the magistrate after failing to secure their guns properly when the police showed up on their Quilpie Shire property.
Police executed a search warrant on the Adavale property on August 19, 2020, where they talked to Kevin Stanley Randall, 62 and Graham Frederick Cann, 79 about their weapons, the Roma Magistrates Court heard on February 3.
Police prosecutor sergeant Heather Whiting said the officers took up on the search warrant for stock-related matters, but found an unlocked firearm safe.
They asked Randall about his Birmingham Small Arms rifle, which he said was registered, but further inquiries showed it wasn’t, sergeant Whiting told the court.
“[Randall] stated he heard one of his sheep in distress and he put his... rifle in the safe and removed his other rifle to go see what was wrong,” sergeant Whiting said.
“He stated he was just in a hurry and forgot to lock his safe.”
The court heard police also found Cann’s 45 calibre handgun in the unsecured safe, and ammunition belonging to both men in unsecure locations.
Police also found a rifle with an empty shell in the chamber, which belonged to Randall, in the back of a ute.
Solicitor Patrick Quinn told the court both men have lived on the land for a very long time - Randall his whole life, and have both held a weapons licence since 1990.
Both men come to the court for the first time with no criminal histories.
According to Mr Quinn, Cann was waiting for Randall to tend to distressed sheep and noticed two vehicles in the driveway, so he put his pistol in the unsecured safe.
“He thought they might be Telstra or Ergon Energy,” Mr Quinn told the court.
Mr Quinn said Randall left one of his guns in the house while using the other one to hunt down a dingo, with no success.
He also said Cann is a Commissioner for Declarations and once worked as a bailiff in Victoria.
Mr Quinn asked the magistrate not to record a conviction or make a forfeiture order for the guns.
Magistrate Peter Saggers told Randall he needs to comply with the regulations of his self-employed business, like how doctors or car dealers would need to in their professions.
“When it’s your means of earning a living, you need to ensure that everything you do is compliant,” he said.
Randall pleaded guilty to two counts of keeping firearms loaded, one count of possessing an unregistered firearm, failing to put weapons in secure storage facilities, and failing to securely store ammunition.
He got a $750 fine with no conviction recorded.
Cann pleaded guilty to failing to securely store ammunition and failing to secure his handgun.
He was fined $250 with no conviction recorded.
A forfeiture order was not made for either offender’s weapons.