news, local-news,

A World War II machine gun, two American made pistols, and thousands of dollars of criminal proceeds were at the centre of crimes committed by an Ulverstone man who a judge said had a "cavalier disregard" for the law. On Thursday Andrew Stewart Morrison, the owner of Ulverstone business Tas Guns N' Ammo, appeared in the Supreme Court in Burnie to face 17 charges relating to the illegal possession and sale of weapons between 2013 and 2018. Morrison pleaded guilty before Justice Gregory Geason to 13 charges of unlawful trafficking in firearms and four counts of dealing with the proceeds of crime. Crown prosecutor Simone Wilson told the court the first trafficking charge and the four charges of dealing with proceeds of crime related to the sale of a 1943 Inglis machine gun. Ms Wilson said the weapon was now "very uncommon in Australia" and had historic ties to use by armed forces in the Second World War. She told the court Morrison sold the gun, not in working order, through a third party to a man on the mainland who intended to use it for military reenactments. The man paid $16000 for the gun in four instalments of $6000, $3000, $4000 and $3000, which were deposited into Morrison's bank accounts but which were not reflected in the business's records. "The state asserts the accused knew the $16,000 received by him was the proceeds of a serious offence," Ms Wilson said. Morrison's defence lawyer Lee Edwards told the court he acquired the machine gun part by part over a number of years, as he held an "interest in historical firearms". "He didn't acquire it as a completed firearm," Mr Edwards said. Furthermore, Mr Edwards said, in 2009 the Acting Commissioner of Tasmania Police had provided Morrison an exemption to collect firearms for the purposes of historical reenactment. Morrison believed, Mr Edwards said, he was not therefore required to register the firearm once it was assembled. However, Ms Wilson disputed this belief and said the exemption related to the possession of the gun and did not exempt Morrison from registering it. Ten of the remaining 12 trafficking charges related to the sale of weapons including revolvers, shotguns and rifles which Morrison on-sold before registration had been issued for the individual weapons. Mr Edwards said in these cases each of the recipients was legally entitled to own the weapon they purchased, but Ms Wilson argued Morrison's non-compliance meant Tasmania Police were then unaware of the weapon's location sometimes for months. "The legislation exists for the very well known and obvious purpose of regulating firearms... to keep the community safe," Ms Wilson said. She said he was "acutely aware" of the requirements and showed "outright contempt" for the laws which he "deliberately chose to ignore". Mr Edwards said in these cases it was "a timing issue" and that his client had simply been "complacent". Justice Geason, however, rubbished this submission. "He exhibits a cavalier disregard for the obligation," he said. "I don't think it can just be carelessness. It is more serious than that. The system requires compliance." Ms Wilson said the final two trafficking charges related to two Phoenix Arms pistols Morrison had in his possession which had been heavily modified and featured incorrect serial numbers. Mr Edwards said neither pistol was functional and there did not present an actual risk to the community, but conceded they could be used in a "menacing" way if they had fallen into the wrong hands. He said he believed the crimes could be dealt with by way of a fine, but Ms Wilson said that was "wholly inappropriate" and Justice Geason said a term of imprisonment was a "possibility". The judge adjourned sentencing to December 8. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

/images/transform/v1/crop/frm/NQiJDXf4NWnExqjD6zCrvn/c6c35bc3-cbf0-4855-8e90-01857b2c87be.JPG/r0_89_3555_2098_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

A World War II machine gun, two American made pistols, and thousands of dollars of criminal proceeds were at the centre of crimes committed by an Ulverstone man who a judge said had a "cavalier disregard" for the law.

On Thursday Andrew Stewart Morrison, the owner of Ulverstone business Tas Guns N' Ammo, appeared in the Supreme Court in Burnie to face 17 charges relating to the illegal possession and sale of weapons between 2013 and 2018.

Morrison pleaded guilty before Justice Gregory Geason to 13 charges of unlawful trafficking in firearms and four counts of dealing with the proceeds of crime.

Crown prosecutor Simone Wilson told the court the first trafficking charge and the four charges of dealing with proceeds of crime related to the sale of a 1943 Inglis machine gun.

Ms Wilson said the weapon was now "very uncommon in Australia" and had historic ties to use by armed forces in the Second World War.

She told the court Morrison sold the gun, not in working order, through a third party to a man on the mainland who intended to use it for military reenactments.

The man paid $16000 for the gun in four instalments of $6000, $3000, $4000 and $3000, which were deposited into Morrison's bank accounts but which were not reflected in the business's records.

"The state asserts the accused knew the $16,000 received by him was the proceeds of a serious offence," Ms Wilson said.

The legislation exists for the very well known and obvious purpose of regulating firearms.

Simone Wilson

Morrison's defence lawyer Lee Edwards told the court he acquired the machine gun part by part over a number of years, as he held an "interest in historical firearms".

"He didn't acquire it as a completed firearm," Mr Edwards said.

Furthermore, Mr Edwards said, in 2009 the Acting Commissioner of Tasmania Police had provided Morrison an exemption to collect firearms for the purposes of historical reenactment.

Morrison believed, Mr Edwards said, he was not therefore required to register the firearm once it was assembled.

However, Ms Wilson disputed this belief and said the exemption related to the possession of the gun and did not exempt Morrison from registering it.

Justice Gregory Geason

Justice Gregory Geason

Ten of the remaining 12 trafficking charges related to the sale of weapons including revolvers, shotguns and rifles which Morrison on-sold before registration had been issued for the individual weapons.

Mr Edwards said in these cases each of the recipients was legally entitled to own the weapon they purchased, but Ms Wilson argued Morrison's non-compliance meant Tasmania Police were then unaware of the weapon's location sometimes for months.

"The legislation exists for the very well known and obvious purpose of regulating firearms... to keep the community safe," Ms Wilson said.

She said he was "acutely aware" of the requirements and showed "outright contempt" for the laws which he "deliberately chose to ignore".

Mr Edwards said in these cases it was "a timing issue" and that his client had simply been "complacent".

Justice Geason, however, rubbished this submission.

"He exhibits a cavalier disregard for the obligation," he said.

"I don't think it can just be carelessness. It is more serious than that. The system requires compliance."

Ms Wilson said the final two trafficking charges related to two Phoenix Arms pistols Morrison had in his possession which had been heavily modified and featured incorrect serial numbers.

Mr Edwards said neither pistol was functional and there did not present an actual risk to the community, but conceded they could be used in a "menacing" way if they had fallen into the wrong hands.

He said he believed the crimes could be dealt with by way of a fine, but Ms Wilson said that was "wholly inappropriate" and Justice Geason said a term of imprisonment was a "possibility".

The judge adjourned sentencing to December 8.

Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: