Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Crooked cop home free
Selling machine guns to all comers is apparently OK if you are a senior Queensland cop. But the average guy is in trouble if he just owns an air rifle without a permit
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has appealed against a "manifestly inadequate" penalty given to a Queensland police inspector who pleaded guilty to importing illegal gun parts.
Water Police chief Alan Magarry was placed on a two-year, $4000 good behaviour bond with no conviction recorded when he appeared before Brisbane Magistrate Graham Lee last month.
The charges to which he pleaded guilty were three counts of importing prohibited goods. Each carries a maximum penalty of a $275,000 fine or 10 years' jail.
Customs charged Magarry after intercepting four parcels containing illegal machine gun conversion kits sent from the US. The packages – labelled "marine parts" – were addressed to a deceased person and sent to Magarry's home.
The house north of Brisbane from where Magarry operated a private armoury business was also raided by Customs and police, with a significant quantity of firearms and ammunition seized along with a computer.
After the raid on September 17 last year, Magarry immediately took sick leave from his post at the Queensland Police Service. He was suspended in November for allegedly refusing to take part in an interview with investigators from the Ethical Standards Command.
Yesterday, John Crook from Gun Control Australia, questioned what sort of message the court's light-handed penalty had sent, given the seriousness of the charges. "These sorts of sentences ridicule the whole nature of our gun laws because they give no respect for those people who go to the trouble to honour the laws," Mr Crook said. "This slap on the wrist is so light that the public would have every reason to ask the Government to step in and take much more serious action."
He said that Magarry's senior position in the Queensland Police Service had made the sentence "that much worse". "It is astounding that the court has (handed down) this puny sentence," Mr Crook said. "We're disgusted."
No date has yet been set for the appeal against the sentence to be heard in the Brisbane District Court.
Magarry remains suspended from the QPS pending the outcome of an internal investigation.