Two NRL players charged with firearms offences: the charges explained

firearms offences

Two NRL players, Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr, have been charged with firearms offences after uploading a video to social media of the pair shooting a gun whilst on a property on the Mid North Coast of NSW. In addition to these charges, fines were issued for failing to comply with the Public Health (COVID 19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 (NSW).

How can you have access to a firearm in NSW?

In NSW a person, a person can be issued with a firearms licence if they have a ‘genuine reason’ for using a firearm.

These are outlined in  Section 12 of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) and include:

  • sport/target shooting;
  • recreational hunting/vermin control;
  • vertebrate pest animal control;
  • business or employment;
  • occupational requirements relating to rural purposes;
  • animal welfare; or
  • firearms collection.

In NSW, a ‘genuine reason’ does not include the protection of oneself, another individual, or property.

As Latrell Mitchell is the holder of a firearms licence, he can possess and use approved firearms.

What firearms offences were committed?

Mitchell has been charged with giving possession of a firearm to an unauthorised person. Per section 50B of the Firearms Act, police must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that:

  • Mitchell gave a firearm to Addo-Carr, and
  • Addo-Carr is not authorised to have possession of a firearm.

 

The maximum penalty for this offence is 5 years imprisonment.

 

As for Addo-Carr, he has been charged with unauthorised use of a firearm. Under section 7A of the Firearms Act (‘The Act’) police must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that Addo-Carr:

  • used a firearm, and
  • did not hold a valid firearms licence or permit.

 

The maximum penalty for this offence is 5 years imprisonment.

Other firearms offences

Unregistered firearms

Under Section 36(1) of the Act, a person must not supply, acquire, possess or use a firearm that is not registered.

The maximum penalty for this offence is five years imprisonment.

However, if the firearm is a prohibited firearm (outlined in schedule 1) or prohibited pistol (defined in section 4C), the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.

Safekeeping of firearms

Under Section 39 of the Act, a person commits an offence if they fail to take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safekeeping of a firearm and to ensure it is not lost or stolen and that it does not come into the possession of someone who is not authorised to use it.

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of 20 penalty units or imprisonment for 12 months or both.

If the firearm is a prohibited firearm or pistol the maximum penalty is a fine of 50 penalty units or imprisonment for two years or both.

Storage requirements

Under sections 40 and 41, it is an offence for the holder of a firearms licence to fail to store the firearms according to the requirements when it is not in use.

These requirements, and the penalties for failing to comply with them, vary depending on the category of firearms licence concerned.

 

If you or someone you know needs advice regarding alleged firearms offences, please contact the team at Hamilton Janke Lawyers 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 4038 1666.

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