CQ man's old gifts return to haunt, land him in court
A LONG-FORGOTTEN set of gifts has come back to haunt Bajool commercial fisherman John Cecil Harris.
A cache of ancient weapons and ammunition was uncovered after Gladstone water police executed a search warrant on his Bajool property.
During a search of Harris's fishing vessel on August 17, police discovered a false floor compartment of his boat.
They later uncovered a heavily rusted Simpson and Suhl double-barrel shotgun lying in three pieces, wrapped in rope.
Further questioning led police to his 10.6m mothership, The Wild Goose, moored at Port Alma, where they discovered a 1915 Carl Gustaf centre-fire military rifle and a leather belt containing 22 live bullets and one spent cartridge.
Yesterday Harris, 54, faced Rockhampton Magistrates Court to plead guilty to two charges of unlawful firearm possession (for category A and B weapons) and one of possessing explosives (ammunition).
Harris's barrister told magistrate Jeff Clarke that the items were gifts given to him by a friend a long time ago and after he had put them away, it was a case of "out of sight, out of mind".
Given Harris had fronted court two years previously for possession of ammunition, Mr Clarke said Harris had been caught "red-handed with these items you shouldn't have had, that you've had for some time" and knew the gravity of the situation.
He issued a fine of $900, ordered that a conviction be recorded and the items be forfeited.