“The police revoked my gun licence and I want it back.” Which case won?
Gun licence issued for recreational hunting and vermin control
In 2001, a man was issued with a gun licence on the basis that he had the genuine reasons of recreational hunting and vermin control.
From that date until 2014, the licensee had renewed or re-applied for the gun licence as necessary.
The licensee leased property S, near Gunnedah, for grazing his livestock.
He would sometimes stay at property S. The rest of the time he lived with his mother at property N.
Police attend break and enter at property and find licensee’s rifle on bed
The licensee’s friend, Ms L, had been staying at property S on and off for eight months, when on 27 December 2014 she reported a break and enter at the property.
Earlier that morning, the licensee had left property S and driven to property N to collect his rifle from safe storage in order to put down a sick sheep at property S.
Returning to property S just prior to the police arriving, the man entered the house and placed the rifle on the bed in his room.
When the police arrived, the sergeant on duty saw the rifle on the bed, asked the licensee why it was there and informed him that it needed to be locked away.
After conducting interviews, the police confiscated the rifle, along with ammunition found in the house.
Gun licence suspended and then revoked
On 30 December 2014, the licensee was served with a notice suspending his firearms licence on the basis of public interest.
On 12 February 2015, he was charged under the NSW Firearms Act 1996 (“the Act”) with failure to keep a firearm safely and holding a Category A or B licence without approved storage.
On 28 March 2015, after he had been charged with these offences, his gun licence was revoked.
The licensee sought an internal review of that decision, and on 2 July 2015, the decision was affirmed by the Commissioner of Police. In August 2015 the man applied to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for a review of the Commissioner’s decision to revoke his gun licence.
Offences under Firearms Act do not result in conviction
The licensee entered a plea of guilty to the firearms safety and storage offences and was convicted of both charges on 6 November 2015.
The licensee then asked the court to redetermine the charges on the basis of a plea of not guilty.
His request was heard by the Local Court on 9 March 2016, with the court dismissing the first charge and finding the licensee guilty of the second charge without a conviction.
Appeal against revocation of gun licence follows non-convictions on gun safety charges
When the appeal against the revocation of the gun licence was heard by NCAT in July 2016, the tribunal had to determine whether the licence could be reinstated, given that the firearms safety and storage charges against the man had not resulted in convictions by the court.