January 11, 2017

Possession of and firing a loaded firearm in a public place: Police v SNP

Possession of a loaded firearm in a public place, Section 93G(1)(a)(i) Crimes Act 1900 – fires a firearm in a manner likely to injure, Section 93G(1)(c) Crimes Act 1900 – self-defence – acquittal

Facts:

SNP was a former military sniper. During the time that SNP had been in military service, his younger brother had fallen into deep trouble with a dangerous Sydney gang. Since his return SNP had tried to protect his brother from the gang. Prior to the incident in question, SNP had met with the gang and given them $2000 in cash. At that time SNP was assaulted and threatened with a firearm.

Following that assault SNP began to receive menacing phone calls from blocked numbers. The phone calls threatened SNP’s life and the life of his brother. During one of these calls, a meeting was arranged for SNP and the gang to ‘sort things out’.

On the day of the incident SNP waited at the arranged spot. A black car with tinted windows pulled up, and a man dressed in black and wearing a balaclava stepped out. He was holding a silver pistol inside a plastic bag. The man in black shot SNP twice; once in the right shoulder, and once in the right leg. SNP responded by reaching into the back seat of his car and pulling out the rifle he had brought as a precautionary measure: he fired a warning shot at the rear of the car. At this, the masked man and the gang car sped off.

SNP gave voluntary testimony to the police regarding his part in the shooting. SNP was charged with possession of a loaded firearm and discharging of a firearm in a manner likely to cause injury.

Outcome:

SNP plead guilty to the charge of possessing a loaded firearm, and not guilty to the charge of firing the weapon in a dangerous manner.

Defence lawyers made submissions that SNP was acting in self-defence, and discharged his weapon with the intention only to scare the gang away and not to injure them. The argument put to the court was that SNP was a military sniper: if he had wanted to injure the other party, they would be injured. The jury accepted the argument of self-defence. Self-defence is a complete defence, which means that SNP was acquitted of the offence.

Contact O’Brien Solicitors on (02) 9261 4281 to set up a free appointment with the defence lawyers in our Sydney office. 24 hour phone / text: 0421 373 961