Collins accused of illegal gun possession

  • 21/05/2014

Justice Minister Judith Collins is in more hot water - this time accused of illegally possessing a gun at the Government's crime lab.

Ms Collins was at Auckland's Environmental Science and Research Centre (ESR).

A police complaint has been laid by the president of the National Shooters Association, Richard Lincoln, who recently won a battle with police on gun law.

"It appears that Ms Collins is breaking the law," he says.

"She's a current Minister of Justice. I can think of few other people who should know and comply with the law more."

The Arms Act states you cannot fire a pistol without a licence - although there are exemptions, one being "a person working in any forensic laboratory or facility that provides forensic services to the police".

But the Justice Minister was not working at the ESR.

"It was necessary to be able to look at how gunshot patterns and spatter patterns are shown up on t-shirts and things like that," says Ms Collins.

The law states you can mount a "good defence" for not having a licence if you are on the range of an incorporated pistol club and under immediate supervision - within arm's length.

"The defence of supervised use is not available to her because she's not on an approved range and she is not complying with what the police guidelines are as to the proximity of supervision," says Mr Lincoln.

Mr Lincoln is used to fighting gun law. In 2009 he won a court battle against police for trying to reclassify certain types of guns.

On Ms Collins, he complained to police who replied: "Police expect that the Justice Minister would have been under the direct supervision of ESR staff. In the circumstances, police do not propose to investigate your complaint and will be taking no further action in respect of it."

"The police, I understand, have looked into it and dismissed it," says Ms Collins.

Mr Lincoln is not satisfied with the response from police, so has now written to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, asking them to investigate.

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source: newshub archive