Homemade pistol found in car

MICHAEL John Carter’s nervous demeanour and fidgeting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle after being stopped for a random breath test in Corowa on Tuesday night alerted police to check his vehicle, a court heard yesterday.

An officer shone a torch into the car and saw several .22 calibre bullets in the centre console after Carter was stopped about 9.40pm.

A front seat passenger and Carter were asked to get out and police questioned if there was a firearm in the car.

The suggestion was denied by Carter, but he became more nervous.

Police began to search the car and immediately found a UHF scanner on the driver’s side floor.

There was a beanie wedged between the driver’s seat and console which had an object inside.

It was a loaded home-made firearm, which was less than 30 centimetres from where the ammunition was sitting.

A closer inspection by police revealed it was a spring-loaded bolt action .22 pistol with a rubber coated wooden grip.

There was a shell casing in the barrel.

The firearm was rendered safe with police removing the shell casing with pliers to ensure there were no other rounds and it could not discharge.

“It’s not mine. I’m getting rid of it for a friend,” Carter said.

Carter, 32, of Tower Street, Corowa, pleaded guilty in Albury Local Court yesterday to charges of possessing an unregistered pistol, failing to safely keep a firearm and possessing ammunition without a licence.

Solicitor Sue Robey made a release application on behalf of Carter, who is a self-employed diesel mechanic.

Ms Robey said the gun belonged to a friend of Carter, who has been jailed for several years.

“It was his (Carter’s) intention to throw it in the river,” she said.

Police prosecutor Sgt Steve Watterson opposed bail, saying community protection was a primary consideration.

Magistrate Tony Murray said Carter had a limited criminal history and was put on a bond on June 18 for a dishonesty offence.

But he said a jail sentence was almost inevitable for such a serious firearms matter.

Carter was remanded in custody for sentencing on September 30, with a pre-sentence report ordered.