Airport checks missed firearm
A MAN passed through two international airports unaware he shouldn't have been carrying a firearm in his suitcase.
The air pistol, a family heirloom, landed Barnard Joseph August in hot water after it was picked up on the x-ray scanners at the Brisbane domestic airport terminal.
The weapon had belonged to his late father-in-law and August was bringing it with him from New Zealand to Mackay, where he now lives.
"At no time during the international travel process, either in New Zealand or on arriving in Australia, had the firearm been identified as being in his checked luggage," prosecutor Bimal Raut told the Mackay Magistrates Court yesterday.
On March 31, police were called by Jetstar screening staff after they noticed a firearm in a passenger's luggage, Mr Raut said.
August identified himself as the owner of the luggage.
Duty lawyer John Aberdeen, of Legal Aid Queensland, said there had been no malicious intent in his client's actions.
Mr Raut said the 57-year-old was returning from a trip to New Zealand, where he previously lived with his family. He had been helping his son pack to relocate to Mackay, His son had inherited the air pistol, which is considered a category H weapon, for which a licence is required. Due to its sentimental connection, August put the air pistol in his bag.
The court was told that a licence wasn't required for the weapon in New Zealand by anyone over 18.
Mr Aberdeen said August was "intercepted by police at the domestic terminal on the Mackay leg of his trip".
Had he known, he wouldn't have brought the firearm over, Mr Aberdeen said.
August pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a category H weapon. He wanted to apply for citizenship and a conviction might jeopardise that, Mr Aberdeen said.
Magistrate Mark Morrow fined August $150. No conviction was recorded.
August has two months to obtain a licence and organise appropriate storage, otherwise the air pistol will be forfeited to the Crown.