Spear gun owner didn’t carry licence

The holder of a spear gun licence found out the hard way that the law requires him to carry it when he uses the spear gun.

Wallace Matthew Whittaker, 24, appeared in Summary Court last week charged with possession of an unlicensed spear gun without a lawful excuse.

Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn said that on the afternoon of 31 January officers were on patrol in the North Sound. They observed a boat and stopped it for routine checks. They saw the spear gun and Whittaker admitted it was his, but he was unable to produce a licence.

Magistrate Grace Donalds examined a copy of Whittaker’s licence. It had been issued in October 2005, authorising him by way of a provisional licence to own and use a spear gun.

The magistrate pointed to a proviso on the licence: ‘You are required to keep this document readily available in the field when conducting spear fishing activities.’

Whittaker admitted he did not have the licence with him at the time.

The magistrate imposed a conditional discharge for 12 months. If in 12 months Whittaker does not come back to court for anything else, that will be the end of the matter.

Mrs. Gunn asked if the court would be ordering the forfeiture of the spear gun.

The magistrate said no and directed it returned to its owner.

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