R v MEZZADRI: Our client was visited by Police on his premises following a report of a domestic dispute. In response to Police requesting of there were firearms on the premises, our client produced eight weapons, including a rifle with the serial number erased.
Offences: 1 x unauthorized possession of firearms in aggravated circumstances (Max 15 years imprisonment);
Court: Court of Criminal Appeal, New South Wales
Prior Sentence Outcome: Suspended sentence on 1 year and 10 months.
Appeal Outcome: The Crown appealed the prior sentence as too light - Appeal was dismissed.
Overview: Our client was visited by Police on his premises following a report of a domestic dispute. In response to Police requesting of there were firearms on the premises, our client produced eight weapons, including a rifle with the serial number erased.
Four of the firearms were prohibited, none of them were registered, and our client was unlicensed.
Our client had come into possession of the firearms in several ways: some passed down by his father, others he had found in very bad condition. Three of the eight firearms were registered by our client in NT, and our client believed that all the weapons were unserviceable.
Our client entered a plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity. Several character references were tendered on his behalf which detailed his good character, strong employment history, and his high unlikeliness to re-offend. At trial, despite police ballistics experts stating the weapons were in working order, we were able to successfully argue that this was not the case when the weapons were seized, which was accepted by the judge.
This offence carried a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 20 years and a standard non-parole period of 10 years. Our client was sentenced to a suspended sentence of 1 year and 10 months – a significantly low penalty due to the unique circumstances of the case.
On appeal, the Crown argued against this sentencing order, in particular the suspension of the sentence, claiming it was too lenient and was not serious enough given the nature of the offence. After submissions were made, we successfully defended our client’s ordered sentence and readily believe that it is more than adequate, given the circumstances of the offence.
This matter highlights two very important points, particularly understanding the nuances of possessing firearms under the law, and the general obligations on persons not to possess restricted items. This general obligation is particularly important as our client was in possession of 4 restricted items. This invites a greater discussion of firearms and the law in Australia and what to consider when understanding Australia’s firearms and weapon laws.
This is the summary of an actual case. Certain details have been omitted to protect the privacy of our client. We select and summarize cases which are informative and provide no guarantee that similar results are achievable in all cases. This summary does not constitute as legal advice and you should obtain legal advice specific to your matter and circumstances. If you are facing charges similar to the ones above, contact us for a free consultation.