NRL PLAYERS CHARGED WITH FIREARMS OFFENCES
Over the weekend, photographs and videos surfaced which show a group of men, including three NRL players, on a camping and hunting trip on Latrell Mitchell’s property on the Mid North Coast of NSW. One of the videos which Addo-Carr uploaded to social media shows him shooting a gun while on the trip.
After announcing a police investigation into the matter on Monday, NSW police fined Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Tyronne Roberts-Davis $1,000 each for failing to comply with the social distancing rules under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW).
On Tuesday, Mitchell and Addo-Carr were also charged with firearms offences.
Why does Latrell Mitchell have access to guns?
Latrell Mitchell is the holder of a firearms licence, which allows him to be in possession of and use approved firearms.
In NSW a person will not be issued with a firearms licence unless they have a genuine reason for using a firearm. Section 12 of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) sets out the list of genuine reasons, which includes:
- sport / target shooting
- recreational hunting / vermin control
- vertebrate pest animal control
- business or employment
- occupational requirements relating to rural purposes
- animal welfare
- firearms collection.
A genuine reason does not include personal protection, protection of another, or for the protection of property.
If Latrell Mitchell has a firearms licence, why was he charged?
Every firearms licence in NSW is subject to a number of mandatory conditions which relate to things like storage, safekeeping and use of the firearm.
Police allege that Mitchell gave the firearm to Addo-Carr, who was not authorised to possess (or use) it because he does not have a firearms licence or permit.
Accordingly, Mitchell has been charged with giving possession of a firearm to an unauthorised person, which is an offence under section 50B of the Firearms Act.
To prove this charge, police will need to 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.
Because he has been charged with a firearms offence, Mitchell’s firearms licence has also been suspended. This means that he is not allowed to possess any firearms unless the suspension is lifted by the Firearms Registry. Accordingly, Mitchell has surrendered his firearms to police.
What has Josh Addo-Carr been charged with?
Addo-Carr has been charged with unauthorised use of a firearm, which is an offence under section 7A of the Firearms Act.
To prove this charge, police will need to 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 also 5 years imprisonment.
What happens next?
The two men will appear at Taree Local Court on 04 August 2020, although given the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is unlikely that their matters will be finalised for some time.
We will keep you updated on further developments in relation to this matter.
What should I do if I have been charged with a firearms offence?
If you have been charged with a firearms offence, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a firearms offence, it is likely that the court will record a conviction. The type of sentence you receive will depend on the offence you have been charged with, the specific facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors. It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of a conviction being recorded.
Call us on (02) 9696 1361 to make an appointment to speak to one of our lawyers via phone, Zoom or FaceTime.