‘Provoked’ man freed

FINLEY man Garry Owen Tate had a falling out with a close friend over the sourcing of cannabis, a court heard yesterday.

Tate refused to help his friend, who wanted the cannabis so he could supply it to others.

The friend made various threats of harm, specifically about shooting Tate, his partner and their newborn child.

There were 47 abusive text messages between the two men on March 10 with the intention of finding a location to “sort out their differences”.

A meeting was arranged at the Finley High School football oval and the victim arrived there about 9pm.

He called out for Tate, who emerged from shadows and said: “Come any closer and I’ll shoot you”.

The victim saw Tate holding a .22 rifle, challenged him to shoot and started walking away.

He was about 20 metres from Tate when a shot was fired into the ground, the victim made further abusive comments and went to the police station.

Tate, 28, of Osborne Street, was arrested the next morning and has since been on remand.

He appeared in Albury Local Court yesterday for sentencing for possessing an unauthorised firearm, firing it in a public place, intimidation and being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence.

Barrister Christine Mendes appeared for Tate and said his intention was to scare the victim.

“A single shot was fired. The gun was fired into the ground,” Ms Mendes said.

She suggested a suspended sentence be imposed.

Magistrate Tony Murray questioned whether the victim had been charged with anything and when told no charges had been laid, said the victim was extremely lucky.

“I accept that this is a really unusual situation,” Mr Murray said.

He said there was a degree of provocation.

Mr Murray took into consideration Tate’s two months in jail and imposed a 12-month suspended sentence and six-month apprehended violence order for the victim’s protection.

He noted there was a basis for Tate and his family to seek a similar order against the victim.