A few years back Michael Paul Joseph Hasselberg-Williams was sentenced to a year in prison for the unlawful possession of guns and ammunition.
All up it was four charges of receiving stolen property, six charges of possessing firearms, one of possessing ammunition and one of burglary.
Judge John Strettell said there had been a large number of firearms taken in various house burglaries in and around Christchurch, which ended up in the boot of Hasselberg-Williams’ car.
While on bail for the firearms charges Hasselberg-Williams burgled other homes. He was identified by his fingerprints.
He also noted that Hasselberg-Williams had 11 previous convictions in the district court and one term of prison, despite being just 20 years old. He also had a history of breaches of community-based sentences and other release conditions.
Even so, Hasselberg-Williams was sentenced to just one year in prison.
He will serve less of course.
We only mention this case to remind readers that there is no real deterrent for criminals to possess illegal guns in New Zealand.
But is there now an incentive?
Last year a man found guilty of meth charges had six months simply chopped from his sentence. How? Because he ‘Negotiated’ for some West Auckland gang members to surrender a number of illegal firearms.
Caleb Borrett was found guilty at trial of possessing methamphetamine for supply and two counts of possessing cannabis. The drugs were worth up to $14,000 and the man had around $1000 in cash.
The guns were finally handed in – the day before sentencing.
The man’s lawyer claimed that the “negotiations had been ongoing for weeks and the court should not be cynical about the timing of the surrender”.
So should organised crime now keep a special stockpile of guns for when it is time to haggle down their already pathetic sentences?
The Kiwi Gun Blog want to recover stolen guns, sure.
But not if that means motivating new thefts.
Police raised similar concerns at the time of the case – before later back peddling.
The Police Association president at the time, Greg O’Connor, rejected the police’s official stance that this was an unusual case.
He was reported in the media as saying: “The association had been before a select committee to raise the issue of gangs storing caches of weapons for just the type of eventuality as in the Borrett case”.
He went on to claim that members from all over the country had told O’Connor the problem was not unique to Auckland either.
Guy and gals…. We REALLY need to watch for more cases involving this most dubious practice.
Worthy of note:
The Crown prosecutor in this case, Hannah Clark, said that some of the firearms had their serial numbers filed off.
This is not uncommon and makes the suggestion of gun registration even more silly.