Rockhampton courthouse.
Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton courthouse. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison ROK221012ccourt5

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.

 

OLD GIFT: Example of a Simpson & Suhl double barrel shotgun.
OLD GIFT: Example of a Simpson & Suhl double barrel shotgun. Contributed

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.

 

UNCOVERED: A 1915 Carl Gustaf 1915 military centrefire rifle like this was found in the raid.
UNCOVERED: A 1915 Carl Gustaf 1915 military centrefire rifle like this was found in the raid. Contributed

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.



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