Man let kids play with illegal rifle and ride on trailer
Ian Lee Howard may have been allowed to ride on the back of trailers as a kid, but now he’s found himself without a driver’s licence after giving a few children a spin around Tin Can Bay.
A member of the public recorded a white Toyota Hilux on the corner of Emperor and Squire streets carrying three standing kids, between 10 and 15 years of age, at 4.30pm on February 2.
“Police subsequently viewed the footage and identified the vehicle and trailer registered to the defendant,” police prosecutor Sergeant Shaun Janes told the Yeppoon Magistrates Court on April 8.
The police attended Howard’s Tin Can Bay address and he told them he was driving at the time.
He towed the kids for 1.2km.
Police then attended an Old Scenic Highway address at Yeppoon at 5.15pm on March 12, after a witness flagged an illegal firearm to them.
Howard said he was the owner of the Winchester .22 rifle but police checks showed he didn’t hold a weapons licence.
He told police it had no ammo and was used as a toy for the kids, Sergeant Janes told the court.
“He purchased the rifle at a garage sale many years ago,” Sergeant Janes said.
Appearing in court with a very limited criminal history, Howard represented himself and told the court a firearms conviction could affect his ability to visit his family in the United States.
“It was 150 years old. (I) just thought it was an antique so I just had it stored in two bits, and that was it,” Howard told the court.
He also said they were in the process of moving houses when the trailer incident happened.
“The kids in the back of the trailer was a stupid move,” Howard said.
“My Dad used to do it to me, but times have changed.”
Acting Magistrate Ross Woodford told Howard there was a minimum disqualification period of six months for this type of offending and he was not eligible for a restricted work licence.
“It can be dangerous, you know that? ” Magistrate Woodford said about Howard’s offending.
Howard pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and received a $600 fine, had a conviction recorded, and lost his licence for the mandatory minimum period of six months.
He also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of weapons and was fined $300 but no conviction was recorded for this offence.