A MAN has been jailed for six months after police found a stockpile of black market weapons hidden on his family’s Bungaree property.
Luke Webster was straight faced as his sentence was handed down in Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday.
A large group of family and friends were present to support the 27-year-old, with many weeping as he was taken into custody.
Webster had pleaded guilty to 15 weapons-related offences following a police raid on July 24.
In sentencing, magistrate Peter Couzens said the suggestion the weapons were used for killing vermin was “almost laughable”.
“One is not in the habit of hearing of people using weapons such as a Remington Wingmaster pump action shotgun or a Uberti .44 calibre revolving carbine rifle for that purpose,” he said.
“The explanation is pitiful and I reject it.”
Mr Couzens said illegal firearms were an enormous problem in the community and would not be tolerated by the court.
He also struggled to grasp why Webster, who has prior convictions for weapons offences, would stockpile illegal guns.
“It’s impossible to find any basis in which one can try to excuse your behaviour,” he said.
“Given your apparent fascination or appetite for firearms one can’t be confident (that you won’t re-offend).”
Webster was ordered to serve three months in prison immediately, with three months suspended for two years.
He was also fined $1500 and the weapons were ordered to be forfeited.
Late yesterday afternoon Webster’s lawyer David Tamanika lodged an appeal against sentence and appeal bail was granted.
A date for the appeal has not been set.
On Wednesday the court heard Webster had stashed almost a dozen weapons in a secret compartment in a shed on his parent’s property.
Three of the weapons had been reported stolen in burglaries and several were unregistered.
Police also found a box containing ammunition, a silencer and a hunting knife.
Webster has never held a gun licence.