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Weapon collector escapes jail term

Date

Michael Inman

A Rivett man found in possession of a World War II hand grenade, four unlicensed guns, fireworks, five marijuana plants and 500 grams of cannabis has been placed on a suspended sentence and ordered to perform community service.

Timmothy Scott Elphick, 42, pleaded guilty to a string of weapon and drug charges in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

According to a statement of facts tendered in court, police raided Elphick's home in August last year after his former partner applied for a protection order.

Officers seized a World War II hand grenade, an air rifle, two .22 rifles, a .32 revolver, a cache of fireworks, five Victoria Cross commemorative street signs, and about 500 grams of cannabis.

The court heard police also located a concealed room in Elphick's garage that contained a hydroponic set-up consisting of four halogen lamps, a ventilation system and five marijuana plants growing in pots.

A further six licensed guns and more than 1000 rounds of legally held ammunition were found in secure storage.

The court heard the grenade, which was located in a metal storage cabinet, was collected and destroyed by members of the Australian Defence Force.

But the defence lawyer Paul Edmonds argued that the weapons were inert.

He said his client, a collector of war memorabilia, thought the grenade was legal as he had bought it through a dealer and it contained no charge.

The court was also told the bolts of two rifles had been removed and were located in another room, rendering them unable to be discharged, while the revolver could not be fired.

Mr Edmonds said Elphick had purchased the fireworks before the 2010 ban and the cannabis was for personal use.

Prosecutor Sara Gul told the magistrate a custodial sentence was appropriate.

In sentencing, Magistrate Peter Morrison accepted Elphick's explanations for the offences and deemed the charges to be low- to mid-range in seriousness.

Mr Morrison noted the defendant had an extensive criminal history, mostly for traffic matters.

The pre-sentence report found Elphick was a low to moderate risk of reoffending.

However, Mr Morrison said a sentence of imprisonment was the only option.

He convicted Elphick and handed down a four-month suspended sentence with a two-year good behaviour order.

Elphick must also perform 250 hours of community service within the next two years and submit to supervision.

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