The 53-year-old primary producer had a locked gun safe, but forgot to store the rifle (file image).
The 53-year-old primary producer had a locked gun safe, but forgot to store the rifle (file image). Pixabay

Forgetful farmer 'in a rush' leaves loaded rifle on bed

A MACKAY region farmer left a loaded rifle lying "in clear view on a child's bed" while he drove to town.

The incident prompted Magistrate Damien Dwyer to touch on the importance of Australia's tough gun laws in preventing tragic shootings.

Peter Michael Baretta faced Mackay Magistrates Court on Wednesday, to be sentenced for failing to securely store a weapon - a Parker Hale Safari rifle - as a licensed weapons holder.

Prosecutor Sergeant Sabine Scott told the court police attended Baretta's home on Mirani-Mount Ossa Road, Mount Ossa about 8pm on February 14 "in relation to another matter".

Officers were met by several of Baretta's family members, but the 52-year-old had left the premises and could not be found.

"During a police investigation into the other matter, (a family member) led police to an external accommodation block at the rear of the dwelling," Sgt Scott said.

"Police saw there that the dwelling had a closed but unlocked door. Police were led into the building, where police observed a Parker Hale firearm ... laying in clear view on a child's bed.

"On inspecting the weapon, police found the weapon to be loaded with two rounds."

Police asked the person who directed them to the accommodation block who owned the rifle and they told them it belonged to Baretta.

Sgt Scott said officers seized the rifle and subsequent inspections at the property "revealed a (locked) gun safe which complied with the Weapons Act legislation"

"That was in the shed beside the external accommodation block," she said.

Police returned to the address and interviewed Baretta, who said the firearm "belonged to him" and he uses the weapon "to destroy feral animals located on the farm".

Baretta told police he had placed the gun in the building before travelling to Mackay and "he intended on placing it in the gun safe on his return", but had "forgotten about it".

"He stated to police he was aware weapons which were not being physically possessed were required to be stored in a secured storage facility," Sgt Scott added.

The prosecutor sought a "forfeiture order for the firearm", after noting Baretta owned "seven weapons" in total.

Mr Dwyer asked Baretta, who did not have a lawyer, if he had anything to say about the offence, and about the potential forfeiture of the rifle.

"I carry guns with me every day. On this day, I had to go to town quickly and I put the gun into this building. No one lives there and I store the equipment in it," Baretta said.

"I was in a rush, your honour. I'm sorry. I do need the rifle, sir."

Mr Dwyer noted Baretta had "no (criminal) history whatsoever" at his mature age, and he had entered an early guilty plea.

"I accept what you have said. There's a reason why this has happened," Mr Dwyer continued.

"We see what happens in other parts of the world where guns are laying around."

Mr Dwyer fined Baretta $600, did not record a conviction and said the primary producer will be allowed to keep the rifle.

New skincare treatment for CQ clients

premium_icon New skincare treatment for CQ clients

Top of the line skincare technology and treatment now here for rural Central...

PHOTO GALLERY: Christmas comes to Thangool and Theodore

premium_icon PHOTO GALLERY: Christmas comes to Thangool and Theodore

CHECK OUT the local faces captured at their town’s Christmas party!

GIVING BACK: Providing happy Christmas for all

GIVING BACK: Providing happy Christmas for all

Volunteers at Vinnies Biloela are hard at work delivering the best Christmas...