Man denies knowing 6ft firearm tucked under feet
A WARWICK man told police he didn’t notice the 6ft long firearm tucked under his feet in the backseat of his brother’s car.
Thomas Peter Burton was a backseat passenger in a car at Ripley on September 22 last year, when police approached the stationary vehicle and spoke to the 20-year-old and two others in the car.
Police prosecutor Ken Wiggan told the court at one point the driver attempted to leave the scene, but was stopped, ending with police officers being assaulted.
Sergeant Wiggan said there was no suggestion Burton was involved in the assault.
Officers located the firearm, measuring 185cm in length, on of the floor of the backseat, covered with fabric.
Burton claimed at the time he didn’t notice the gun.
Police also recovered a further five firearms in the boot, but police accepted Burton was unaware of those guns and he was not charged in relation to them.
Three days later Burton ordered a taxi to take him from Percy St to another Warwick residence but he did not pay the fare.
The court heard the driver was asked to return the next day for money but didn’t, nor did Burton make any attempt to pay the $10.50 fare.
Defence lawyer Amber Acreman said her client had previously struggled with substance abuse issues and was associating with “anti-social people”.
But she said the news his partner was expecting his first child inspired him to make genuine efforts to turn his life around.
“He has been clean for six months, which coincides with finding out he was going to become a father,” she said.
“Basically, the pregnancy was key to turning his life around and he acknowledges he has to do things quite differently if he is to raise a child.”
Burton pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing a weapon, evading a fare, failing to surrender and breach of a community service order.
He was placed on 12 months’ probation, fined $400 and order to pay $10.50 restitution to the taxi company.