A man in Queenstown, New Zealand has escaped prison time despite being caught with an array of illegal drugs and a military-style semi-automatic rifle, with a 30-round magazine, in his house.
The man appeared in the Queenstown District Court Last Month and was even granted permanent name suppression.
Cops smelled marijuana when they went to his home for an unrelated case on June 22, 2018. A thorough search by the police not only uncovered 372g of cannabis and an AR15 rifle but also 0.1g of methamphetamine in his wallet and 0.1g of MDMA on his dressing table.
In addition, a pipe for smoking cannabis, and a ‘snuff bullet’ — used for smoking cocaine — was recovered from his dressing table.
Bill Dawkins, the defendant’s counsel, told the court that his client suffered from massive pain as he had broken his neck twice. So he sought marijuana as a better option than taking 1200 painkillers a month to deal with the pain.
In regard to other drugs, the defense added that they were “odds and sods” left behind by visitors.
Also, the defendant had legally bought the AR15 with his category A firearms license, Dawkins said. But he later purchased the 30-round magazine on the internet, unaware of the fact that it made the rifle illegal for that license category.
In relation to the drugs, an anesthetist’s report stated the defendant was “far better” when regularly using marijuana, and that a legal cannabis substitute was highly expensive.
Judge John Brandts-Giesen said he had decided “by a narrow margin” to grant a discharge without conviction because the consequences of a conviction would outweigh the seriousness of the offending.
Notably, the possession of the AR15 was the most serious charge of the lot as the recent law changes — resulting due to the Christchurch mosque shootings in March — ban military-style semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines.