Military memorabilia collector caught with gun, ammo, illegal magazines – Stuff.co.nz

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The Palmerston North District Court heard Connor-Mcleod Mitchell-Gray’s military collection of “random things” included prohibited magazines, and a gun and ammunition he had no licence for.

Stuff

The Palmerston North District Court heard Connor-Mcleod Mitchell-Gray’s military collection of “random things” included prohibited magazines, and a gun and ammunition he had no licence for.

A man found with a gun, ammunition and prohibited magazines says he was just collecting “random things” for his military memorabilia collection.

Connor-Mcleod Patrick Mitchell-Gray​, 31, was due to be sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court on Thursday for possessing those items unlawfully.

Police found the items – listed on court documents as various rounds and shells, a .22 rifle and six Steyr military-style semi-automatic 30-round magazines – after going to his house on unrelated business in August.

He did not have a licence to possess the rifle or ammunition.

In court on Thursday, Mitchell-Gray told Judge Stephanie Edwards​ he was only collecting “random things” like uniforms he stored in glass cabinets.

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He kept ammunition safe and away from children, he claimed.

“I’m not some crazy military person this makes me look like.”

The judge said the items were “not random things”, but weapons, with the magazines especially concerning.

The magazines were outlawed during the gun reforms carried out in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch terrorist attack at two mosques.

A hitch in sentencing came up when the judge pointed out Mitchell-Gray was on a sentence of intensive supervision, which he was not complying with well.

She said an electronically monitored sentence, such as community or home detention, would have to be the option.

Defence lawyer Tony Thackery​ tried to convince her otherwise, saying the rifle did not have a bolt or firing mechanism.

Michell-Gray collected military memorabilia as part of his passion for the army, which he was keen to join if not for his criminal convictions.

While non-compliant early on with his intensive supervision, Mitchell-Gray had since met with his probation officer, got some structure in place and made a plan, Thackery argued.

He was off work for a time due to a medical issue but had since got a job, so could do community work.

But the judge said she did not want Mitchell-Gray taking part in community work, potentially telling people about his cache of military items and where they might be found.

“The military collection does not take away from the fact that these are prohibited items.”

Mitchell-Gray will next appear in court in March.

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