A rabbit hunter has failed in his attempt to overturn a court verdict that he illegally shot a gun to eradicate the pests on a Wangaratta property.
He denied it and appealed the decision in Wangaratta County Court yesterday.
Karen Criddle, who lives nearby, filmed a video after she said she heard shots fired from Cheshire’s blue ute on Frasers Lane, a public road.
“I heard a couple of pops, I said to my partner “was that gunshots?’,” she said.
“I saw a man leaning out his ute, pointing a gun from the back of the caravan park … into the opposite property”
The BIG4 Wangaratta North Cedars Holiday Park has both permanent residents and visitors.
“I didn’t know who he was or who he was shooting at,” Ms Criddle said.
“It’s a bicycle trail so there are always cyclists up there.”
Cheshire’s barrister Gerard Nash QC questioned if the “pop” she heard could have been from the gun club, rather than a “crack” which would have come from his client’s rifle.
Ms Criddle said the noise was much closer than that.
Cheshire was accused of driving down the road with the door open and the gun in his hand, hanging out the open door.
Cheshire claimed his rifle was not loaded and he carried it on his lap.
He said he only shot the rabbits from the driveway on private land, where it was safe.
Sergeant Paul Purcell said he was concerned to find a loaded gun in Cheshire’s vehicle.
“There wouldn’t have been anything to stop the safety being knocked around while bouncing around in the back of the ute,” he said.
Mr Nash grilled Sergeant Purcell over how his electronic version of notes could not be located on the Victoria Police computer system until a couple of weeks ago.
“If you’re trying to insinuate they’re fabricated, which I think you’re saying, you’re completely wrong,” Sergeant Purcell said.
Judge Frank Saccardo sided with the previous magistrate and found Cheshire guilty, reimposing the penalty of a 12-month good behaviour bond.
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