Iain Lewis King, 65, from Proserpine pleaded guilty to possessing weapon and importing tier 2 goods in Mackay Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Iain Lewis King, 65, from Proserpine pleaded guilty to possessing weapon and importing tier 2 goods in Mackay Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Army Reserve weapons teacher stashed illegal pistols, gun parts

A FORMER Army Reserve weapons instructor who imported a gun part through Ebay was later busted with illegal semi-auto pistols and machine gun parts under his bed.

It came after Iain Lewis King lost his weapons license in 2008, when he tried to bring an 84mm anti personnel rocket cartridge back on an overseas flight.

A court heard the two operable semi-auto pistols found under King's bed were restored mementos of his father's service in the Second World War.

King faced Judge Deborah Richards in the District Court in Mackay on Thursday.

The 65-year-old Proserpine man pleaded guilty to importing tier 2 goods - a K43 Mauser semi-automatic receiver/barrel assembly - on January 28, 2014.

King also pleaded guilty to possessing weapons - two Second World War-era German 9mm pistols, machine gun and other firearm parts - on March 6, 2014.

Crown prosecutor CJ Moore said King came to the attention of Federal Police when Australian Customs intercepted a package for him from the Czech Republic.

They found the Mauser assembly, which "cannot be imported without the consent of the attorney general".

Federal Police then obtained a warrant and searched King's home, finding the firearms stash under his bed, including the oiled and well-maintained pistols in a shoebox.

"They fired when police loaded and test fired them," Mr Moore said.

"The defendant told police that the pistols were brought by after the war by his father and he had them restored.

"He knew he was committing an offence by importing the parts."

Mr Moore described the pistols' well-kept condition and hiding place as a "relevant consideration for sentence".

He said King mentioned having a "school aged child residing in the house" to police.

Mr Moore applied to have King's weapons and parts officially forfeited.

Defence barrister Stephen Byrnes described King as a retired, married dad and an "avid collector of military memorabilia" since he was a teen.

King was an Army reservist and builder for 16 years, before he turned to nursing and midwifery in his early 30s.

Mr Byrne said King was based in the Torres Strait for seven years as an emergency nurse, which later saw him diagnosed with traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2007.

The defence lawyer described the rocket cartridge from King's previous conviction as "inoperable" and said it "couldn't hurt anybody".

However, Mr Byrne conceded "it doesn't sound good".

Mr Byrne said King, an aged pensioner, had no ammo for the pistols which were found and the gun parts were "inoperable" without work.

Letters of support were also tendered for King, who had planned to display the pistols and had "no ulterior criminal motive", according to Mr Byrne.

Judge Richards said both of King's charges can attract a maximum penalty of 10 or more years.

She was critical of the fact the pistols "would have been accessible" to children in King's house.

However, she took into account his lack of criminal motive, his good work history, cooperation with police and timely guilty plea.

King was sentenced to nine months jail for importing and six months for possession, suspended immediately, and he was placed on a good behaviour bond for six months.

He was fined $2000 and convictions were recorded.

On receiving his sentence, Mr King thanked the judge and exclaimed "I'll be good, your honour".