Rockingham: man (47) avoids jail despite pleading guilty to range of firearms and drug offences

Rockingham: man (47) avoids jail despite pleading guilty to range of firearms and drug offences

A MAN has avoided prison after police found a 12 gauge sawn-off shotgun under his bed.

Neil Morton pleaded guilty to seven charges in Rockingham Magistrates Court, including unlicensed possession of firearms and ammunition, possession of methamphetamine, possessing drug paraphernalia, false number plates and breach of bail.

Morton received an eight month prison term suspended for 12 months and was fined $550 for the driving offences.

The prosecutor said the search warrant was executed at 5.54am at a residence in Orelia on July 15, 2015.

He said along with the gun, police found 250 .177 calibre rounds, 27 .22 calibre rounds, 159 12 gauge cartridges, three glass pipes with methamphetamine on them and 2g of methamphetamine.

On a later date, while at the police station, police conducted a strip search of Morton and found a clipseal bag in his underpants with 0.1g of methamphetamine in it.

Morton was also picked up for driving without a licence and an incorrect number plate on his car.

Defence lawyer Malcom Ayoub said the 47-year-old accepted the police facts.

He said Morton needed extensive help and the firearm did not work, although that was not an excuse.

He said Morton had co-operated fully with police.

“It is the same story as throughout the country for those with methamphetamine habits,” he said.

“Or you can look at it from the difficulties within the system and what it does to people.”

He said his client came from a sad background and had a “horrendous childhood”.

“With methamphetamine he fell into a trap and ever since his life fell apart,” he said.

“He used to own a successful skip-bin business before his involvement with an (outlaw motorcycle gang).”

“He has been to prison because of it and while there he was seriously assaulted; hands broken, skull fractured.

“He suffers anxiety, has poor vision in one eye, headaches, has difficulty with interpersonal relationships and pain in both hands.”

Mr Ayoub said since Morton had tried to break away from his associations with an OMCG, he had been regularly harassed by them.

He asked Magistrate Andrew Maughan for general deterrence and a personal deterrence sentence.

Magistrate Maughan said he had pleaded guilty early and said it was irrelevant whether the gun was working or not.

“Firearms in the community run the risk of others with ulterior motives getting their hands on them,” he said.

“A bank teller with a shotgun in their nose doesn’t know if it is working or not.

“It is suspicious that he said the gun was not working but there was all that ammunition to be used for that firearm.”

Magistrate Maughan said Morton’s record did him no favours and there was a need for general deterrence.

“It is clear it has been a difficult life and the associations have been your choice,” he said

“Trying to break free has caused you grief.

“I am concerned that you have violent thoughts and ideations towards your partner but mostly to others.”