Johnsen Found Guilty of Firearms Charges

Filed in Recent News by September 27, 2019

BENJAMIN Johnsen, a professional shooter and son of Michael Johnsen MP, was found guilty of firearm offences in Tamworth court this afternoon and will be unable to have firearms for 14 months.

Mr Johnsen, who was employed as a professional dog controller by Local Land Services, was charged by police on April 30 on the New England Highway, in Willow Tree, for not storing his firearms safely.

Mr Johnsen had just finished shooting on a Willow Tree property and was travelling to Quirindi for his son’s birthday.

When Police stopped Mr Johnsen, he confirmed he had firearms in the vehicle and allowed police to inspect them.

Police found a 0.223 rifle in a rifle bag behind the seat, with the magazine and bolt contained in the same bag, but in different compartments.

Another 0.22 rifle was in the top box of the rear tray of the vehicle, which was unlocked and while the rifle had a magazine in the rifle the bolt of the rifle was located in the vehicle glovebox.

Ammunition was also found in the driver’s side footwell.

The defence argued Mr Johnsen was exempt from the storage laws at the time, as he was a professional shooter and until he arrived at his destination was still at work.

The prosecution argued that he was not exempt on a public road and had finished work.  

The prosecution agreed that since the bolts had been removed from the rifles, the firearms were not operational at the time, but were still not stored safely.

There was argument as to how many times police had previously cautioned Mr Johnsen to store his firearms safely, with Mr Johnsen admitting to one occasion.

Magistrate Soars found when Mr Johnsen left the property he had ceased work and found it unreasonable that he may need to use the firearm on his drive to Quirindi. 

While the prosecution agreed Mr Johnsen posed minimal threat to the community at the time of the offence, the Magistrate found not storing his firearms safely still presented a risk to the community.

Mr Johnsen was given a 14 month community release order without conviction and is unable to have firearms during that period.

On the possession of cannabis, he was found to be of prior good character and given a 12 month community release order with no conviction.

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