GUN SHOP FIGHT: VicPol loses 2nd attempt to stop NSC’s action
28 June 2020|Gun shops, Victoria Police
LAST WEDNESDAY (24 June) the NSC had a second direction’s hearing in the Firearm Appeals Committee in its case over the Victorian gun shop closures.
Victoria Police’s lawyer tried yet again to have the FAC dismiss the case on the basis the gun shops had now reopened and so there was no need for the matter to be heard.
The NSC’s submission is that that the Chief Commissioner’s decision to close the Victorian gun shops was “ultra vires”, which means the Chief Commissioner acted beyond his legal authority and power and the section of the Firearms Act VicPol relied on was never intended by the legislators (the Parliament) to give the CCP power over all dealers at once but rather to give the CCP the power to regulate individual dealers.
The cost to dealers
Associated with this is that whilst gun shops have re-opened, the Victorian Licensing and Regulation Division has fallen behind in processing Permits-to-Acquires (PTAs). This means dealers are having to resubmit PTA’s lodged before the closure for a second time, plus those submitted after the re-opening are still waiting to be processed.
This case is complex but of great importance and will be a landmark precedent setting case in Australian firearm’s legal history.
At the time we filed our case Shane Patton was an Assistant Commissioner of VicPol who is about to become VicPol’s new Chief Commissioner. We advised the FAC that we wanted Mr Patton called as a witness for cross examination as well as Police Minister Lisa Neville’s Chief of Staff who advises her on firearm matters.
The failed attempt to shut us down
During the hearing, Victoria Police tried to argue that the FAC had no jurisdiction to hear the matter and that it should be heard in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
This was an attempt to stop our case being heard as Supreme Court hearings cost big money. As we have seen in Victoria’s Lawyer X Royal Commission , Victoria Police is not shy in spending taxpayers dollars.
The Chairperson of the FAC wasn’t swayed by that argument and made orders that VicPol are to file written legal submissions as to why the FAC shouldn’t allow our case to proceed.
In other words, Victoria Police need to argue why the Firearms Appeals Committee cannot hear firearm appeal matters.
We will obviously be filing countering written submissions as to why the case should be heard.
VicPol could have avoided this
The legal fight could been avoided if Victoria Police had simply sought advice from the Victorian Government Solicitors Office before closing the state’s gun shops.
The NSC exposed that they didn’t - and also exposed the lie that the closure was as a result of a decision of National Cabinet.
So while this is dragging on, it continues despite the pessimistic forecasts of the SSAA and ADA who claimed to have expert legal advice that a legal challenge to the gun shop closures in Victoria had no chance of success and said our actions were a “waste of resources on exploitative activities”.
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