A 29-year-old has been imprisoned after he was found with a gel blaster and three kinds of illegal drugs on his person.
Dominic Turk of Oxley Street, Nyngan, pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges in Dubbo Local Court on March 23 this year.
Charges included possession of an unauthorised firearm, driving while disqualified, driving an unregistered vehicle, not stopping during a police pursuit, and three counts of possessing a prohibited drug.
Gel blasters are illegal according to firearms legislation in every state and territory except Queensland, which classifies them as a toy. The court heard the maximum penalty for having an unauthorised firearm in NSW was 14 years in jail.
Court documents state Turk was arrested and charged on January 22 this year. On the day, a member of the public called police to report a motorcycle rider without a helmet on the Barrier Highway.
Turk was heading towards Nyngan when police noticed his red motorbike travelling west at 3.55pm. Lights and sirens were activated to indicate the rider to stop. Turk looked back at the police vehicle and increased his speed.
Police said he did not intend to stop and so they initiated a pursuit. A short time later, he turned off the highway and entered bushland.
After driving for about 15 metres, he jumped off the bike and was seen reaching under it. Police also entered bushland and upon locating Turk, they asked him to stop what he was doing.
Turk put his hands up and police walked him to the back of their vehicle. The offender was holding a small bag. Officers asked him what was inside and he said "just this".
Police said he revealed a "black coloured pistol". They immediately yelled at him not to reach for it and snatched the bag from him.
"It's a gel blaster," Turk said.
Police said the replica pistol resembled "a glock pistol" issued to NSW police officers.
Turk was taken to Nyngan Police Station where his bag was searched. Police found three individually packed plastic bags in a small container. They were identified to be 0.74 grams of methamphetamine, 0.44 grams of amphetamine and 0.53 grams of cocaine.
The offender admitted to owning the drugs and regarding the replica firearm, Turk told police he found it at the Hermidale rubbish tip.
"Don't know, I just found it," he said.
Further checks revealed Turk's motorbike to be unregistered and his license status as disqualified.
Turk had been in custody since his arrest and appeared in court via audio visual link.
Magistrate Gary Wilson was told, at the time of the offending, Turk had been serving a community correction order (CCO) which had now been revoked. The CCO was imposed by the District Court for a previous crime.
The court heard Turk had also served a seven-month non-parole prison term in 2012.
Defence solicitor Ms Wong said her client was suffering from PTSD after his girlfriend passed away under "unfortunate circumstances". She said Turk was using drugs to deal with the situation.
The court was told he completed year 10, had a white card and told his solicitor that he would work wherever he would be accepted.
"It demonstrates someone who is willing to change. It's not a situation where there's no hope," Ms Wong told Mr Wilson. "I would ask you to consider that his prospects of rehabilitation are still fairly open. His record is not the best nor is it terrible."
While she said the unauthorised firearms charge was "serious" she pointed out that he had only found it at the tip and not used it. She said the offence was towards the lower end of objective seriousness.
Ms Wong also said Turk had the support of his mother and some others in the community.
The court heard police prosecutor Sergeant Iaing refer to the "slightly different" matter of Thalari in the Court of Criminal Appeal. He said the sentencing judge had found the offender's carrying of a functioning firearm to be of mid-range seriousness. He said the finding was open to the judge at the time.
Sergeant Iaing also stated the offender only "said" that he had found the replica at the tip.
"It's typically the scenario... 'Oh, I just found it under a tree, I found it on the floor'," he said.
"It has the capacity to instil fear, combined with the possession of drugs... it's certainly towards the mid-range of seriousness.
"It's important that the court stands against simple possession."
Sergeant Iaing asked the court to send a "strong" message to someone who was a repeat offender that they would not get the benefit of having their sentence backdated to time already spent on remand.
"Given your history, given the driving matters, it leaves no other alternative than to impose a custodial sentence for that type of offence," Mr Wilson addressed Turk and referred to his previous District Court sentence.
"This time we're dealing with a replica glock which carries up to 14 years' jail for possession of an unauthorised weapon.
"The pursuit was fairly tame, very short distance... compared to other matters that come to through this court, there were no other aggravating features."
Turk was fined $1200 in total for the drug possession charges and convicted for not stopping during a police pursuit. He was sentenced to an aggregate jail term of 10 months for possessing an unauthorised firearm, and driving an unregistered vehicle while being disqualified.
His jail term was to begin on February 23, 2023, with a non-parole period of 5 months. Turk will be released to parole on July 22, 2023.