Western Downs primary producer in court for supplying weapons
A COURT heard a Western Downs goat farmer had been leaving loaded firearms laying around his home, and illegally lent them to his neighbour and son.
On Thursday, December 3, Donald Thomas William Crawford, 69, pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to secure storage of weapons, and two charges of unlawfully supplying weapons.
Police prosecutor senior constable Jodie Tahana said the goat farmer’s property on the Leichhardt Hwy was raided by police, when officers located two loaded .22 rifles in a living room and noticed a .222 rifle was missing.
Senior constable Tahana said the elderly man told officers he had lent a gun to his neighbour to put an injured dingo out of its misery, and although Crawford assumed his neighbour was the holder of a gun licence, he was not.
The court heard, the soon to be 70-year-old also came clean to police that his son borrowed a gun, even though he didn’t have a weapons licence and was mentally unstable.
“All firearms were seized until the finalisation of this matter,” senior constable Tahana said.
Defence lawyer Michael Corbin told the court the farmer has held a licence since the law required one, and after losing his leg to sepsis last year, it was difficult for Crawford to access his gun safe located outside the home.
Mr Corbin also noted the Roma-born farmer let his son use the gun while one his property and under supervisor.
Magistrate Tracy Mossop told Crawford he failed his responsibilities as a licensed gun holder, and leaving high-powered weapons lying around his home was extremely dangerous, especially if he was robbed.
“While I appreciate your physical difficulties, the reality is… anyone could have taken those loaded rifles and used them to cause harm to someone else, that is a significant danger,” Magistrate Mossop said.
“Move the gun safe… no one in this day and age can have their loaded gun lying on the living room table like they did 30 to 40 years ago so they can shoot whatever comes along, feral animal wise.”
Due to his significant co-operation with police, lack of history, and early pleas of guilty, Crawford was charged $1000 for all offences.
“You’re fortunate enough that I’m fining you… a conviction will not be recorded so that as a primary producer you can still work with the weapons licence authority to see whether you can get your weapons back and maintain your licence,” Magistrate Mossop said.