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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Old bikie bank statement leads police to gun, cannabis

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A Coraki man who lives on a property where a Lone Wolf bikie once resided has been charged with having an unauthorised rifle and cannabis.

Russell John Bennett appeared at Lismore Local Court on Monday and was represented by his solicitor Vince Boss.

The 56 year-old faced charges of possessing an unauthorised firearm, possessing an unregistered firearm, not keeping a firearm safely, possessing ammunition without a licence and cultivating a prohibited plant.

Mr Boss entered guilty pleas to all charges and tendered two references on behalf of Mr Bennett.

He said police were brought to the attention of this property as they uncovered a nine to ten year-old bank statement of an outlaw motorcycle gang OMCG associate with the same address as Mr Bennett.

The court heard the OMCG associate had not lived at the property since Mr Bennett moved in about 10 years ago.

Police facts before the court stated officers noticed a brown leather bag, commonly used to transport a rifle, in one of two sheds converted into dwellings on the 49-acre bush property.

Mr Bennett, who showed police his drivers licence before they began the search confirmed their suspicions.

‘There’s a gun in there,’ he said.

Investigations by police revealed Mr Bennett had never held a firearms licence in any Australian state.

He told police the 30-30 lever action Winchester rifle was bought 10 years ago, for $500, to shoot feral pigs on the property.

During the search, officers also located three different types of ammunition and five cannabis plants, which Mr Bennett said were for personal use.

Mr Boss said Mr Bennett had a 26-year-long working history at Southern Cross University and a very minimal criminal record.

Magistrate David Heilpern placed Mr Bennett on a 12-month good behaviour bond on the charges of possessing an unauthorised firearm, possessing an unregistered firearm and not keeping a firearm safely.

The charges of possessing ammunition without a licence and cultivating a prohibited plant were dismissed under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act of 1999.


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