A Yarrawonga man was fined a total of $1,400 and placed on a two-year Community Corrections Order, when firearms and cannabis possession and cultivation charges - including growing over 30 plants in a "secreted shed" - were brought back before Mudgee Local Court on Wednesday.
Police executed a search warrant on Murray Francis Oldham's Cypress Drive property on Friday, February 14, 2020. And seized 31 plants from a sealed-off shed surrounded by dog cages, entry to which was gained by crawling through one of the cages.
As well as 250g of cannabis seed and 125g of cannabis from various containers throughout the house. And 15 rounds of .22 calibre ammunition and a .177 air-rifle, the latter found in a spare room on top of an open box.
Oldham was convicted in his absence and a warrant was issued when he failed to appear in Mudgee Local Court on Wednesday, May 20. However, his solicitor, Simon Flynn said that this was due to uncertainty during COVID-19 restrictions.
Magistrate David Day said that's "not the run-of-the-mill situation" compared to most people who don't face their matters.
He also raised his concern that the plants were being grown in "a secreted area". However, Mr Flynn assured that despite the set-up it was "an unsophisticated operation".
His honour went on to say that he'd dealt with a Molong matter in which that defendant had been growing cannabis between tomato plants, in hopes it would be disguised. And added, "at Yarrawonga you don't need to grow them next to tomatoes - just hide it behind a shed".
With regards to the firearms offences, the court heard that the air rifle wasn't complete and couldn't be fired. Nonetheless, Magistrate Day said that such a charge lends itself to the inference that some people didn't follow the societal change that came in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre and the resulting gun law reform.
"It really does paint a picture of these slapdash, hicks in the sticks with their bits of guns lying about. The world changed in 1996, people had too many guns," he said.