A 55-year-old Cowra man received $600 in fines and four 12 month suspended sentences for firearms offences at Cowra Local Court on July 19.
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Robert Alexander Benkoe of Lyall Street was before the court for six firearms offences including possession of ammunition without a licence, possession of an unauthorised prohibited firearm, not keeping a firearm safely, possession of an unregistered firearm, possession of a barrel for a firearm and possession of a prohibited weapon without a permit.
Alongside being fined Benkoe was also ordered to forfeit all the weapons to the Crown.
According to police facts, around 9.30am on April 5, 2016, police from Cowra and Strike Force Raptor executed a search warrant on a North Logan Road complex.
Police informed Benkoe that they had a warrant to search all the buildings on the property.
During the search of Benkoe’s unit police discovered a homemade blow dart gun with seven darts, a number of .22 caliber rounds, a .22 “Naughton” semi-automatic rifle and a “Coburra” .308 firearm barrel.
Benkoe’s solicitor Clive Hill told the court that the situation that Benkoe found himself in was more serious than Benkoe had expected.
“As the rifle was found it was only a single fire weapon, which is bad enough, and came to him through his uncle,” he said.
“It stayed locked in a shed away from his family in a place where only he had the keys and where he thought was safe.
“He got himself into a pickle. He never wanted to use the weapons for a criminal purpose, he just wanted to help his uncle,” he said.
In sentencing Benkoe, Magistrate Michael O’Brien, said that storing the weapons the way he had was “a gross error in judgment” on Benkoe’s part.
“It shows a breathtaking lack of responsibility,” Magistrate O’Brien said.
A breathtaking lack of responsibility.- Magistrate Michael O’Brien
“Just because you are the only one who has the key’s does not mean it is safe, someone could enter the unit if they really wanted to.
“In the right hands this weapon could have caused havoc and the community is right to be concerned to the prevalence of unlicensed and unregistered firearms.”
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