Year in jail for trans­port­ing weapons

Pair ad­mit­ted to pos­sess­ing loaded 12-gauge shot­gun

The Hutt News - - DISTRICT COURT -

A man caught il­le­gally trans­port­ing weaponry around the North Is­land has been sen­tenced to a year in pri­son.

Michael John Le Page, 26, and his co-of­fender Mor­gan James Pot­ter, 25, ad­mit­ted pos­sess­ing a loaded 12-gauge shot­gun in Up­per Hutt in March.

Le Page also plead guilty to pos­sess­ing of­fen­sive weaponry af­ter be­ing caught with a samu­rai sword and knuckle dusters on the back­seat of a car in Hast­ings about a fort­night ear­lier.

The men ap­peared separately for sen­tenc­ing in the Hutt Val­ley Dis­trict Court on May 20.

Judge John Macdon­ald said nei­ther of the pair held a firearms li­cence, but were caught trans­port­ing a loaded shot­gun about 2.30am on March 20.

The pair drove north along State High­way 2 to­ward Rimu­taka Hill be­fore turn­ing on to Kaitoke Loop Rd and hid­ing the shot­gun up a drive­way.

They were then headed south to­ward Up­per Hutt when po­lice stopped their car.

A short time later, a dog hand- ler found the loaded shot­gun us­ing an ar­ti­cle search.

The judge said that ear­lier that month, Le Page and two oth­ers were driv­ing around the North Is­land.

On March 10, he stole $77 of petrol from a gas sta­tion in Pe­tone be­fore head­ing north to Hast­ings.

About 3pm the next day, an in­for­mant from Farm­ers Hast­ings re­ported two sus­pi­cious men in the store. One was car­ry­ing some­thing on his hip that re­sem­bled a glock pis­tol.

The men left, and were stopped by po­lice on Mar­ket St soon af­ter. Le Page be­came ag­gres­sive and tried to get be­tween the car and the of­fi­cer search­ing the car. The of­fi­cer found knuckle dusters and a samu­rai sword on the back­seat.

In line with an ear­lier sen­tenc­ing in­di­ca­tion given by Judge Bar­bara Mor­ris in April, Judge Macdon­ald sen­tenced Le Page to 12 months in pri­son af­ter ef­forts for home detention proved fruit­less.

Pot­ter ap­peared for sen­tenc­ing later that day af­ter ad­mit­ting un­law­ful pos­ses­sion of the loaded shot­gun and car­ry­ing a knife.

His de­fence lawyer pushed for home detention on the ba­sis that Pot­ter had al­ready served two months in cus­tody and his mother was present sup­port­ing him in court. He also has a young child.

Pot­ter had ‘‘re­flected’’ on his of­fend­ing and af­ter hav­ing been be­fore the courts ‘‘for some years’’, he did not wish to keep com­ing back.

Judge Macdon­ald sen­tenced Pot­ter to five months’ home detention and or­dered the weaponry be de­stroyed.

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