The NSC has had a huge win in a self-defence case that affects the interests of all licensed shooters.

In this article:

  • An Alice Springs (Northern Territory) man beats gun charges after helping a stabbed neighbour;
  • Court orders the return of his guns despite automatic ban under NT’s gun laws; and
  • NSC writes to NT MP to seek changes to make NT’s gun laws fairer for people like him

This is an amazing story of not only how the man, Ron Sterry, beat unfair gun charges, but how the NT Magistrates Court issued an order trumping an automatic gun ban in NT.

It shows why joining the NSC is the best way to for shooters to get the outcomes they need.

Police seize Ron’s guns after helping a neighbour

On 27 April last year, experienced first aider, Ron, went to the aid of his Alice Springs neighbour who had been stabbed.

It was dark, the assailant was still on the loose in a town known as the stabbing capital of the world, and the emergency services had not yet arrived.

To ensure his own safety, Ron took one of his rifles, a Model 1917 Eddystone 30.06, and a bayonet with him.

He did what he could to help the neighbour (she survived) and remained until the emergency services turned up.

After initially being let go by police to return home, a second group of officers stopped him and took his gun off him.

They also seized his remaining firearms and came back the next day to get his ammunition.

Ron Sterry

It was clear that NTPol intended to make an example of Ron, however, their actions were severly flawed. 

Ron had not yet been charged with any offences, his licence had not been suspended until some 3 months later, and police failed to give Ron any receipts for what they took off him.

More information on what happened that night can be seen in our earlier blog which can be seen by clicking here.

Helping Ron fight the charges

Ron eventually faced five charges despite helping his neighbour. They were that he:

  • Charge 1 – Carried a loaded firearm in a public place;
  • Charge 2 – Carried a firearm exposed to view in a public place;
  • Charge 3 – Went armed in public; and
  • Charge 4 – Carried a controlled weapon (a bayonet) in public;
  • Charge 5 – Possessed a firearm (contrary to the genuine reason).

The problem we faced was two-fold. First, it was clear the police didn’t want to lose this fight, so we needed to understand how to fight all five charges. The second problem was how to help Ron get his guns back, if that was possible.

That’s because under section 10(2A) of the NT Firearms Act 1997, a finding of guilt on any of the offences would have resulted in Ron being disqualified from holding a firearms licence for 2 years.

It’s an unfair law that was written at the height of the political attacks on us.

To help Ron, many of you donated to our fund to help him use the best legal support we could find.  For that, we used barrister Mr Jon Bortoli, who came to us recommended by the NT Firearms Council.  We also used the services of local solicitor, Luke Gardner who we are also grateful to.

Police become difficult to deal with

During this time Ron wanted his other seized guns that were unrelated to the charges transferred to a friendly dealer, as he was entitled to do under NT firearms law and as suggested to him by the NSC’s Vice President. 

However the police resisted that idea. This resulted in Mr Bortoli having to write to the Chief Commissioner threatening more proceedings if this did not occur.

The police then allowed Ron to transfer all property unrelated to the charges. However, NTPol were determined to win their case against Ron and we understand they may have even flown in a Senior Prosecutor from Melbourne to run their court case for them all NT taxpayers’ expense.

The trial

The matter went to trial before Judge Birch in the Alice Springs Local Court on 19 October.  After lengthy and careful deliberations by Ron and Jon, Ron entered not guilty pleas to all five charges.

At the trial, it was noted that Ron did not immediately load the firearm until after talking with the victim’s family.  Even then, a round had not been chambered.

After the evidence was concluded, the prosecution withdrew Charges 2, 3 and 5 leaving Charges  1 and 4 remaining. 

The verdict

The decision was originally meant to be handed down 9 December but was deferred to 11 February.  We took this as a positive sign that Judge Birch wanted to consider the matter properly.

The verdict on the remaining charges were:

  • On Charge 1, Not guilty; and
  • On Charge 4, Guilty. For this, Ron was placed on a 6 month good behaviour bond with a $500 penalty if he breached the bond.  Importantly, no conviction was recorded.

His Honour found that Ron’s evidence raised a lawful excuse and that his actions were not ‘disproportionate’ or ‘unreasonable’ to have taken his firearm with him in the circumstances.

... and he's got his guns back!

As you can imagine, Ron was happy with that outcome – but more good news was yet to come.

As you will recall, a finding of guilt of one of the offences could have disqualified Ron from holding a licence for a 2 year period. 

After some discussion on a previous case, Burrarrwanga v Rigby, the Court issued an Order requiring the immediate return of Ron’s guns & licence, trumping the automatic disqualification.

If anything, this was the judiciary’s way of saying that the penalty was excessive.  Here’s what the Court Order said: 

Not to waste any time, Ron marched off to the police station with the Order to get his guns – and has now been reunited with them.  He also got his licence back and we understand a new one will be issued shortly.

What a result!

This is a fantastic outcome, made possible by the many shooters like yourself who donated to help Ron’s fight.  Thank you for your help.

It is a fantastic outcome for shooters Australia wide because it shows what can be done by a competent organisation such as the NSC.  It’s why more and more shooters are backing the NSC.

The last remaining thing for us to do is to see if we can effect change in the NT by having the NT Firearms Act amended to provide greater flexibility for when a disqualification period may apply. 

There needs to be the option for at least an administrative review, so we’re raising this with NT MP and NSC member, Kezia Purick.

There was a lot of anger in the shooting community over this case and understandably many were pessimistic on Ron’s chances for a good outcome. However we believed in the principle of defending the matter which is why we fought it so hard for Ron. 

That’s why it PAYS to join the NSC.  Click here to sign up now!

One very happy man

A word from Ron…

“I wish to give a big THANK YOU to everyone that had supported me this past year.

I am deeply humbled that people would not only take the time out of their lives to help me but to also commit their hard earned dollars.

I am profoundly grateful to the National Shooting Council and its members; especially Neil, Peter and my lawyer Jon.

Thank you to the Shooting Stuff Australia podcast and Finally A big THANKS to my friends and family.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!”

Ron, still in his court clothes, back with his Eddystone straight after the verdict

A word of warning …

We couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome.  It’s a great and fair outcome for shooters.

However, do not take this as an endorsement of vigilantism.  Ron was forced into the position he was in to help save a life and potentially faced jail time but fortunately the courts saw why he did what he did. 

If you end up breaking the law with a firearm and without a reasonable excuse, then you can expect to wind up in serious trouble.

34 thoughts on “NSC scores major win in NT self-defence case

  1. Andrew says:

    Great result! The Police have clearly shown that protecting their monopoly on the use of violence is a far greater priority for them than public safety.

  2. Shane Gibb says:

    Excellent Excellent news , it should never had gone as far as it did … What happened to help thy neighbour !!! The gun laws definitely need changing in favour of the law abiding firearm owner …

  3. Trevor Pollock says:

    Well done to Ron,the NSC, & legal team.Just shows the lengths police will go to to protect their pride & their members.Police wonder why thy have lost trust & respect.

  4. Bird on a wire says:

    This case not only further exposes the absurdity of present Australian firearms laws ..but should also expose the laissez faire attitude of these gym pumped-up, teenage mutant ninja gear wearing children with anger issues, that are the present Police Force.
    Attitudes reinforced by this whole global scamdemic where they get to realize their aggressive hero dreams by bashing the people protesting the virus scam. And until the world wakes up to the reality there is no virus, (zoonotic or lab created) ..then these punks will continue their violent acts under the mitigation they are obeying orders.
    For more information on the invention of viruses ..see Dr. Tom Cowan, Dr. Stefan Lanka, Dr. Andrew Kaufman and statistician, Christine Massey et al.
    The exponents of this world are deliberately driving the world into crazy division.
    absit omen.

    • Neil Jenkins says:

      This is relayed from David M so is his comment, not ours (NSC):

      Bird on a Wire, there is a virus. It’s designed to kill you by your genes. So if you’re of northern European descent, haven’t been using lots of drugs, don’t have a liver condition and are not in palliative care, there may as well not be a virus. The people who claim there’s no virus don’t take that into account or it’s deliberate misinformation.

      An excellent article with 119 references, by Adrian Boyd, that keeps disappearing from the internet (but not child porn), points out that China and Washington both signed a treaty to not research such a virus, got together and funded such a virus. When it was Obama it was gain of function (that’s as dumb a research project as it sounds), when it was Trump it changed to targeting those races he doesn’t like. When it got loose he blamed China. China’s response, to that and other things (Washington sailing a fleet up the Chinese coast led to the nine dotted line in the South China Sea), is coming. Expect it.

      We have political parties that require their members to believe a crisis is an opportunity. The crisis does not need to be solved, merely exploited. And to suppress dissent. Some people actually believe someone else’s bio-weapon will conform with their political theory. It’s all falling apart.

      The virus may:
      – be with us forever;
      – break down to the common cold;
      – gain function to target a wider range of people (very unlikely, I’m not worried by it), or;
      – lose the last of its ‘A’ letters at the end of its RNA chain. There were originally thirty three of them and there are fewer with each variant. We have never seen anything like it and, we don’t know, but it may be a built in self destruct.

      I’m of northern European descent and not worried by the virus. I received a call from police for not wearing a mask. If I was northern Italian and neither ‘O’ blood group nor female and positive blood type, I’d be wearing a face shield in cool to mild weather.

  5. Law Abiding Shooter says:

    A shockingly just outcome in an unjust nation, run by tyrants and enforced by thugs in uniforms.

  6. Robert says:

    Good to see that the sonderkommando have ended-up with egg on their faces for their overzealous actions.
    Might be better if they spent more time addressing the real issues – the real criminals in the NT. How many resources have been used on this?
    Big call, but if common-sense prevailed, they’d have turned a blind-eye, said thank you, we didn’t see any guns, but they had to go for the soft-target and try to make themselves look good.
    Well done NSC and crowd founders.

  7. David Pickford says:

    Excellent outcome Neil, personally I think the guilty on charge 4 is unwarranted in that he was obviously fearing for his own and others safety and was therefore exercising reasonable grounds to carry the bayonet as a secondary form of defence as do the police who carry gas, a taser and a firearm and whilst not officially approved most also carry a knife. Anyway best of luck in getting the NT firearms Act amended.

  8. Adam Logan says:

    This is the best news for shooters I’ve heard this year. This is why I donate to this organisation, they don’t pull any punches and get the results we need. Well done team!

    • Jon Laird says:

      Huge congratulations to Ron and the NSC. I would rate this victory as the greatest legal win for a firearms owner here in Oz that I can ever recall.
      The police need to wake up to themselves. They have become shallow bullies, drunk on a mirage of supposed supremacy.
      You derive your legitimacy from us the people. Not those corrupt paedophiles and soulless drones that make these unjust laws.
      Wake up and smell the public dissatisfaction you fools.

  9. Robert Koch says:

    Congratulations Ron, it’s good to see common sense prevail over heavy handed police and bureaucratic nonsense.

    • Hugh Jwang says:

      Don’t forget that, with regards this case, the first officers on the scene made a point to tell him to go out it away as they possessed an ounce of common sense.
      The ones that came later that were determined to play politics in order to make themselves look good, did not.
      Not all police are bullies and/or as stupid and opportunistic as those who arrived later.
      Of course, the first one who advised the owner to put it away will have probably been investigated by Ethical Standards for some concocted reason.
      If there is anyone in the force that is unethical, it is Ethical Standards.

  10. bob says:

    Great result. Well done Neil and co. I agree with David Pickford on the verdict on Charge 4 – not justified. I also think Bird on a wire’s description of the Police officers (“gym pumped-up, teenage mutant ninja gear wearing children with anger issues”) is a little harsh. Remember that the fish rots from the head so it’s not necessarily the boys on the ground who are being unduly over zealous. Keep up the good work.

  11. Peter Johns says:

    This case showed the police’s attitude towards not only licensed firearm owners but to the Australian public in general. Remember the “orchestrated” riots in Melbourne last year. Next thing is, they want our help on Crime Stoppers, good luck with that.

  12. Frank says:

    Bob I do agree that not all young (“gym pumped-up, teenage mutant ninja gear wearing children with anger issues”) are a problem you can understand the sentiment when you see 2 officers at a peaceful rally chink gas canister cans and laughing before they attack protestors.

  13. Harps says:

    The Right decision in the end, even through there should have never been charges laid against Sterro in the first place.
    It shows there are still some Justices that are not bought & will follow the rules of Law and we still have hope. Congrats to Sterro and thanks to the N.S.C and all involved.

  14. Nicholas Crankshaw says:

    I finally took the plunge and joined your organisation because I’m fed up with the way the NSW firearms registry constantly intimidates gun owners in this state. As for the larger gun clubs they have done absolutely nothing in standing up for shooters nor have they made the slightest effort at all in getting rid of the ugly flawed NFA that was passed back in 1996. This was a great outcome for all. Keep up the good work.

  15. Tumbles says:

    Finally some good news, well done guys thanks for putting a smile on an old grumpy man’s face.

  16. Carlo Di Falco says:

    Great result. The right to self defense particularly going to the aid of another human being is a basic human right. The world is a better place for people like Ron who put himself in harms way to help someone else. This should never have been an issue.

  17. Doc says:

    Someone mentioned SSAA, lol.. they are just collecting money and doing the political dance. I asked the club I am (oops was) a member of why I have to wear a mask outside. They said because QLD health said so, I asked can I get that in writing. (I hate bull shit).

    So I got a letter from SSAA stating that the club should enforce the Health Directives and if someone would not comply call the police on them… Go figure.. SSAA promoting police activity, imagine a Pistol Club calling the police to have a member removed.. how would that play out… that on its own would create so much negative publicity, the media would have a field day.

    Needless to say, I had a choice to make and to protect fellow shooters, but more so the club, I withdrew from the club and SSAA. I can’t get vaccinated for all sorts of reasons.

    Anyway.. the point is… SSAA is of no use other than collecting money and sending some paper wast every month.

  18. (RGJ) "John" Gilbert says:

    My Congratulations also must go to the Magistrate in this case, for seeing the correct and legal use of a firearm in lieu of the Police action of laying charges where they should Never been laid in the first place. Common Sense did Not Prevail, where the Police were concerned in this matter. I suffered a similar case against myself in the late 1950s in Vic,. Was also placed on a 6 month Bond with no conviction. This was way before any NSC help was available to shooters. A Solicitor – Shooter was very helpful to me though. Cheers and keep up the good work.

  19. chris says:

    the first thing you need to do is get rid of stasi gunner and his motley crew and get NSC members into government

  20. Hugh Jwang says:

    Considering the thoroughly excellent work that is being performed by the NSC, I imagine the organisation is on someone’s radar for pursuit and destruction.

    I will stay a member because the NSC has consistently demonstrated to stand up for the rights of shooters and citizens while others have been silent and done nothing.

    I’m often telling others about the good work only to have confused looks all round of not knowing anything about the organisation.

    SSAA seems to be becoming the shooters version of RACQ… does nothing in the way of helping the community defend itself against those who seek to destroy us- but does the fluffy articles and newsletters to give the appearance of doing something useful.

    If a SSAA executive is reading this: WE NEED LEGAL SUPPORT! We need the bureaucrats to listen and to stop attacking law abiding citizens.
    Shooters have demonstrated that we’re definitely not criminals and thugs and, just because the bureaucratic hoplophobia drives them to believe otherwise, it is THEY who need to become familiar with the law and to start obeying it.

  21. luke.S says:

    I had the Police turn up to my door two years ago to take all my firearms and ammo, citing mental health concerns ( I am a disabled veteran with complex P.T.S.D). Despite my psychiatrist writing TWO letters stating that I was not a self harm or risk to the public, and only suffered from severe sleep deprivation due to nightmares, they refused to return my firearms and license. I contacted the NSC, who advised me on how to proceed. It took two years of reviews and adjudication, but in the end, I had all my firearms returned, and my firearms license reinstated. I have learnt from many others that there seems to be a trend emerging of the Police playing the absolute authority, going as far as to ignore a Psychiatrist!!. It proves that we are entering a progressively evolving police state/ dictatorship in this country. I dont blame the Police, they only enforce the laws made by politicians, and many of them are good people. However If we dont stand together as law abiding shooters, our rights will be eroded bit by bit until it becomes impossible to enjoy the privilege of firearm ownership.

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