THE NSW POLICE have set a new low by cancelling the licence of a shooter who did nothing more than show his licence at a store in the state’s north.
This abuse of power by a registry is the worst that we have ever published – and shows why shooters need a strong NSC.
In this article:
- NSW Police suspended the licence of a pistol shooter who was overheard having a conversation with another person about how he enjoys his sport;
- The NSC helped the shooter make a submission to get the licence back;
- This was ignored = and an Assistant Commissioner of NSW Police called the NSC to justify why the shooter won’t get his licence back;
- The licence has since been cancelled, but NSWPol is yet to offer any reason why they took this action or offer any evidence to support their decision.
- The NSC is getting ready to take yet another legal action at NCAT.
Eaves-dropping on someone else’s conversation
In April this year, Peter Martin went to his local Norco store, which is a dairy co-op, to buy some mice bait to help deal with the plague that affected so many areas in the state.
While there, Peter got chatting with a friendly employee who was interested in his hobby of pistol shooting, even showing the employee his licence.
Another employee overhead the conversation. This second employee complained to Norco’s head office and then police about the interaction – even though he wasn’t actually part of the conversation.
The police interviewed the second employee – but not Peter or the employee he spoke with- before hitting him with a licence suspension notice and seizing his firearms.
The reason stated on Peter’s notice was that his having a licence “not in the public interest due to not fit and proper”.
Peter was later told that the police had also heard there had been a complaint about him by his pistol club – but neither he nor his club know anything about that.
No other information was provided, but the notice indicated that NSW Police would consider revoking his licence.
Peter then contacted the NSC who helped him make a submission. The submission responded to the allegations and invited police to provide Peter with details of what they were based on so he could respond. NSW Police acknowledge receipt of the submission, but never responded to it.
On 1 June, the NSC raised this matter with the Minister for Police, Mr David Elliott, and copied an inspector from NSW Police in. This resulted in a call from Assistant Commissioner Scott Cook about two hours later.
Scott told us that there was more to this story than we’ve been told, and that Peter was not getting his licence back.
To be fair, the police will always have more information that we do – and we were happy to respect the process that needs to follow. We said we would ‘hit the pause button’ to let things play out, just in case there was something we hadn’t been told.
Another two hours later, we had our answer. Peter received a licence revocation notice that had been signed 13 days earlier that made several claims about Peter. Specifically, that:
- “concerns were raised by members of the public in relation to comments made by you involving the possession and use of firearms”
- “Further concerns have also been raised in relation to your mental health ..”
- “… and it has been reported that you may have alcohol abuse issues”
None of the claims were supported with any detail. We don’t know who raised the concerns, what their qualifications in relation to mental health or ‘abuse issues’ may be, or what they allege Peter did.
At no stage prior to suspension or cancellation, did NSW Police offer Peter the opportunity to respond to the allegations.
In fact, the revocation letter didn’t even mention the suspension, which means they also ignored Peter’s submission on why he should retain his licence.
The fact this happened in this way points to serious deficiencies that any lawyer could drive a truck through.
We appreciate that the Assistant Commissioner took the time to call us, but it is even more startling that he not only failed to spot the deficiencies in the process that the registry followed, but that he seemed to ‘double down’ on it.
We’ve helped Peter make a further submission requesting a reconsideration of the cancellation. If that fails to get a positive result before the end of this week, then we’re off the NCAT.
Who is Peter Martin?
Is Peter a criminal? Does he have a controversial past or history of behaviour that police should be concerned about?
Did he do a runner from reporters on A Current Affair?
No – and the police have not made any allegations about what he is supposed to have done – which means they have no reason to give him a hard time about his chosen sport.
Pete is in his mid to late 70s and lives with his wife on his property where he grows veggies that he sells at the Glenn Innes Cottage Markets (which his wife helps organise) and gives away to friends.
He brews his own beer and has won awards for it.
He also makes and sells cookers, which you can see on his Facebook page, has built a trailer, a wood splitter and services his Mazda 4×4.
If anything, he’s the sort of person you would love to have at your pistol club and in the community.
Silence from Norco
You would think that Norco – being a dairy cooperative and rural community hub – would worry if its employees took offence to firearm ownership.
Early on, the NSC reached out to both Norco’s head office and Glenn Innes store to discuss the matter. Neither responded.
We did the same again in early June. Again, no response was received.
We understand from notes made at the time that there was disagreement within the business that the matter should have been reported – with one employee telling X “to do nothing about it as it was a non-event”, describing the conversation as non-confrontational.
It’s Norco’s choice to ignore our representations – but it’s our duty to expose them when we reckon they’ve done the wrong thing. We hope we get the chance to call Norco employees to give evidence as this matter progresses.
We’ll keep you posted on what happens.
Don’t let the registry get away with this
This story is why shooters need a strong NSC.
Being a member of the NSC not only gives shooters a voice, but your membership fee ($35 for regular members) helps us fund our legal fights – such as the one we’re about to support for Peter.
Make a stand. Join now.