Man supplied guns after drugs stand-over

A man has admitted supplying shotguns to a couple who had earlier been threatened in a drug stand-over incident, and he has been fined $1100 at the Christchurch District Court.

The shotguns were found during the police murder investigation into the killing of Luke Sears at Charing Cross, but the police say they have established they were not involved in the murder.

Because of the circumstances, defence counsel Steve Hembrow asked for the man to be granted final name suppression, and the police agreed.

“It’s a safety issue,” Mr Hembrow told Judge David Ruth, before the judge granted the order.

The man, a 48-year-old manager, had admitted charges of selling two shotguns to a woman who did not hold a firearms licence, and possession of a small amount of methamphetamine.

One gun had been bought from a gunshop in December, and the other had earlier belonged to the man’s father, who taught him how to hunt. The man had been interested in shooting and hunting all his life.

Police prosecutor Steve Burdes said an associate of the man had been the victim of a drug stand-over in Hornby and the man had learned of the incident.

He offered to sell the shotguns to the woman and her partner. They paid cash for one gun and exchanged the other for cannabis. He was then asked to buy ammunition for them.

The guns were found during the murder inquiry, which identified the original purchaser, and when the man’s home was searched the 0.2g of methamphetamine was found. The man admitted it was his.

Mr Hembrow said the man had never offended before and was “an outstanding citizen in many respects”, because of the organisations he had belonged to and assisted.

“He lapsed into relatively minor recreational drug use. He has got to know these two people, and was put under some emotional pressure to supply the firearms. They had been threatened and he felt sorry for the girl particularly.”

He had “stupidly” agreed to help them. His judgment had obviously been clouded by the methamphetamine he had been using recreationally.

The situation had caused considerable difficulties in his marriage and he had been seeing a psychologist for more than a year. The convictions now meant he would probably be unable to travel – especially to the United States.

“His world has come crashing down, in many respects,” said Mr Hembrow.

Judge Ruth granted the man final suppression but said it was serious offending which had led to “long term problems” for a man who had never offended before. He imposed fines totalling $1100.