‘READY TO FIRE’: Police find cocked gun in fidgety man’s bag
A man has been ordered to serve a mandatory 12 months behind bars after a bag search landed him with serious charges.
Justin Brian Foley pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court on Thursday to a number of offences including possessing a category H shortened firearm and possessing ammunition.
He appeared by videolink from the Maryborough Correctional Centre.
Foley was walking along Takalvan St at 2am on February 21 where police took up with him.
The court heard Foley was "acting in a strange way" and was "highly animated".
When police were speaking with Foley they observed him to be puffing heavily, sweating and unable to keep still on the side of the road.
He was detained for a search with Foley telling them there was "nothing of interest" to find.
But when officers searched his backpack they were in for a surprise.
Inside the bag police found a handmade short break action shotgun that was about 40cm in length.
On further examination, they saw the weapon was cocked and ready to be fired and was capable of being discharged if the trigger was pulled.
They also found ammunition and a set of digital scales.
Foley's barrister Nick Larter submitted to the court that his client should be sentenced to nothing higher than the mandatory 12 months imprisonment the offence carried.
Mr Larter said Foley did not have any declarable pre-sentence custody because he was on a return to prison warrant.
Magistrate Andrew Moloney took into account Foley's plea of guilty.
Mr Moloney said legislation considered carrying a shortened firearm as a "extremely serious offence" which carried a minimum penalty where the offender must spend 12 months in a correctional institution.
"In other words I can't suspend it or release you early on parole, you have to serve 12 months," he said.
Mr Moloney also took into account the offences occurred while he was already on parole.
"It's a mandatory penalty but imprisonment would have been appropriate in any event," he said.
Foley was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and will be eligible for parole on April 8, 2022.