Fake gun no toy: Boy loses appeal

A FORMER Wodonga youth who pointed an imitation pistol at an off-duty police officer and his two children has lost a severity appeal against seven-month suspended control orders.

Magistrate Tony Murray did not impose a conviction when the youth was sentenced in Albury Children’s Court on October 30 on charges of assault, possessing an unregistered pistol and possessing an unauthorised firearm.

But the youth, who now lives on the Mornington Peninsula, lodged an appeal which was heard yesterday in the District Court at Albury.

Solicitor Tim Hemsley said the pistol was bought for $2 at a shop in Yarrawonga.

Director of Public Prosecutions representative Graham Lamond expressed reservations about whether it fitted the category of an imitation firearm, being a children’s toy.

“If it is not a firearm, it would be some other offensive weapon,” Judge Martin Blackmore said.

Mr Lamond said: “The concern would be this was lawfully purchased as a toy”.

But it had been changed sufficiently to become an imitation firearm.

“At the moment, my concern is what he has done with it,” Judge Blackmore said.

He was told the youth had no previous convictions in NSW or Victoria and youth conferencing with the victim was available.

“General deterrence is of paramount importance,” Judge Blackmore said.

He said the youth did not get a conviction and the penalty could not be seen as excessive.

Judge Blackmore said the penalties would remain and he confirmed the magistrate’s decisions.

The victim was a Wodonga police officer who had his children in his car on August 11 at an Albury intersection.

The youth had bought a snub-nose revolver cap gun at Yarrawonga the previous day and removed the orange plug from the barrel as he left the shop.

He put a piece of aluminium inside the barrel to make it louder when it was fired.

He had fired the gun randomly in Dean Street from a vehicle before pointing at the officer at the intersection of David and Guinea streets.

When the gun fired, it caused a lot of smoke and the officer feared it was a real firearm.