GUN SHOPS: Victorian legal action off to a good start
11 May 2020|Coronavirus, gun shops
- The NSC has had its directions hearing in the fight to hold those responsible for closing Victoria’s gun shops, to account.
- The Firearms Appeals Committee ruled that the NSCs application was in order after being challenged by Victoria Police, and that the matter was of significant public importance.
- Victoria’s Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton, registry chief Dan Trimble, and Police Minister advisor, Simon Monk will be asked to give evidence
THE NSC TODAY had a directions hearing at the Firearm Appeals Committee in its legal fight over the closure of Victoria’s gun shops.
Victoria Police’s lawyer sought to have our application dismissed on a technicality and argued that the FAC did not have the jurisdiction to hear our application. The Chairperson of the FAC disagreed, ruling that the NSC’s application to be in order and admissible, and that the FAC did have the authority to hear the case. She also recognised that the matter was of significant public importance and interest and was a complex case.
Witnesses to be called
The NSC was also required to provide the FAC and VicPol with the number of witnesses we intended to call and their details. The NSC’s legal team was well prepared and advised that it seeks to have the following witnesses appear:
- VicPol Deputy Chief Commissioner Shane Patton;
- Superintendent Dan Trimble, head of the Licensing & Regulation Division; and
- Mr Simon Monk, advisor and Chief of Staff to Police Minister Lisa Neville.
Affidavits and statements to be prepared
The FAC Chairperson made directions that both sides are to file affidavits and statements and supply further material each side intends to rely on, including VicPol’s figures for the “spike” they claimed in gun and ammo sales that led to the closures.
Also observing the hearing was the Australian Deer Association’s Executive Officer, Barry Howlett. Readers may recall the ADA’s opposition to the action and decision not to contribute to it.
This fight will not be quick, nor will it be easy. However, the NSC believes that a strong and clear message was sent to VicPol and the Andrews government that we are serious about our action and the NSC is prepared to fight all the way.
Today’s result was pleasing and the executive committee is confident our decision to commence proceedings was the only sensible one it could make. Now that the directions hearing has happened, and gone well, the NSC is very comfortable about both its position and commits itself fully to following it through.
Even if our gun shops were allowed to re-open soon, we would have zero faith in the State government not closing them again if there is a further COVID-19 outbreak. This is why doing nothing is not an option - and why those responsible for closing them will be held to account.
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TOMORROW , we’ll report on the directions hearing in WA.