A MAN who called police to his home believing 10 people armed with crowbars were trying to break in has been convicted of failing to keep a firearm safely after police found an air rifle attached to a wall.
Rene Kalos, 57, of Carrington Avenue, Oberon, appeared before magistrate Cate Follent in Bathurst Local Court on Monday, November 4.
His solicitor, Evan Dowd, told the court his client lives in Oberon on his own and had some relationship issues.
Mr Dowd said by his client's own admissions, he had called triple-0 for help when he was "strung out".
Police facts outlined how Kalos had been abusing weight loss medication Duromine and, when he called triple-0, he told operators he could see 10 people on his CCTV, armed with crowbars and other weapons, trying to break in to his home.
Police attended the property and, while they were there, saw a Daisy air rifle on the wall.
Mr Dowd said his client was a man who had never married and had no children. He said his firearms licence had already been surrendered and his client was "very embarrassed" about the whole thing.
Police prosecutor, Senior Sergeant Brett Donaghy, said it didn't matter why the police attended the property, the fact was there was a firearm on the wall.
"It's a safety issue. Firearms are used for all types of things when they are stolen," he said.
"A non-conviction for this sort of offence does nothing to tell the community about the seriousness of the offence."
Mr Dowd said his client contacted the police for assistance and, in his view, that should attract some leniency in the eyes of the court.
Ms Follent said that depended on the offence.
In sentencing, Ms Follent said the maximum penalty was 12 months in jail and/or a $5500 fine.
The accused received a 20 per cent discount for his early plea of guilt, which was reflected in the fine.
"When police attended, they saw the air rifle on a hook on a bedroom wall. I accept this would not have come to light if you had not called the police," Ms Follent said.
However, she said there was a strong need for general deterrence when it came to firearms offences, despite the fact there was not significant danger to the public.
"I have to send a message to the community to keep firearms safely," she said.
Kalos was convicted and fined $500.