An Albury magistrate has gone against a police push for a man to be jailed for shooting at a jet-skier on the Murray River.
Richard Funston decided instead, in what he accepted was an unusual exception, to place him on a bond without conviction.
Brett Hickman was already suffering in the wake of the death of the son of a good friend when he targeted the jet-skier on December 27, Albury Local Court heard on Monday.
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The Bendigo man, 52, was holidaying on the river, staying on his house boat moored at Moama, when the victim and a group of mates began to annoy him.
Hickman repeatedly asked the victim that afternoon to stop acting so dangerously.
He feared his nephew's girlfriend, who was learning to water-ski, was in danger of being struck.
But after being told to stop, the victim abused him.
Hickman retrieved from the house boat an under-over, double-barrel shotgun, used for clay target shooting, that he had taken from his gun club for cleaning.
He loaded the gun, went out to the back of the boat and fired directly into the area the victim had only just passed in his jet-ski.
Police said the victim did not realise the shot had been fired.
The victim did a U-turn and again went past the house boat, attracting a repeat shot from Hickman.
The man's friends reported the incident to police.
Defence barrister Sue Kluss submitted that Hickman, of Olympic Parade, Maiden Gully, be placed on a conditional release order without conviction.
But police prosecutor Sergeant Andrew Pike said Hickman's offending was such that the threshold for jail clearly had been crossed.
Any jail sentence would have to be served as full-time custody, as living in Victoria meant Hickman could not serve an intensive corrections order in the community.
"He's got himself involved in a situation and it's escalated," Sergeant Pike said.
"I accept the other group was behaving appallingly."
But Sergeant Pike said it was only Hickman, certainly not the victim, who knew the clay target shot was emanating from his firearm.
"They (the shots) were never going to hit the person on the river, but he didn't know that," he said.
"He's going to be dealing with that for the rest of his life."
Hickman, who pleaded guilty to Hickman pleaded guilty to firing a firearm in or near a public place, not keep firearm (not a prohibited firearm or pistol) safely and not provide storage for a firearm and possess a prohibited drug, was handed a 12-month conditional release order, without conviction.
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