David Dunstan all over again:
“A RURAL pensioner has been left frustrated and angry after pleading guilty to firearm offences in the Wodonga Magistrates’ Court last week.
Sixty-nine-year-old Margot Marshall was charged with assault with a weapon, carrying a firearm in an unsafe manner and failing to comply with her gun licence conditions after she grabbed her single-barrel shotgun to face three people she feared were intruders who had driven on to her property at Wooragee, in North East Victoria, late on Saturday April 15.
The court case has thrown a spotlight on the rights of rural landowners when trespassers enter their property. It follows an incident in the Riverina in September when Bungowannah farmer David Dunstan had his guns seized and his firearms licence reviewed after he found a man armed with a knife and a long piece of wood at his back door at 3.30am on September 14.
Fearing for his family’s safety, Mr Dunstan grabbed an unloaded .22 rifle, but did not point it at the intruder. He was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing and his firearms were returned after six weeks.
Victorian MP and member of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party Jeff Bourman warned a spike in crime could see more rural landholders run foul of firearms law. “The issue will keep popping up as crime becomes a problem and people get scared,” he said. Mr Bourman said in Victoria, unlike NSW, a gun could be used in self-defence if it could be proven appropriate and justifiable.
“The police want you to call 000 if you feel threatened, but that is not always an option,” Mr Bourman said. “In the end it’s up to the courts to determine under what circumstances you can and can’t use a firearm to defend yourself.”
Ms Marshall was alone and asleep on her 8.9ha property at about 9.30pm when she noticed a car come up her 500m driveway towards her house. “I thought that was odd. I’ve been on this property for five years and no one has ever driven up the driveway at night as there are two signs at my front gate warning that it is private property and to keep out,” Ms Marshall said. “They turned off their lights and parked in front of the shed.”
Ms Marshall said she noticed two or three people sitting inside the car. One of them got out and started walking towards the fence. Ms Marshall said she retrieved her gun from her safe, walked outside with it and told the people to leave. Police said the three people were lost and had ended up at Ms Marshall’s property after their GPS mistakenly took them there. They were seeking directions when they entered the property.
Two of them said Ms Marshall had pointed the shotgun at the woman who had got out of the car. That woman feared she would be shot, they said. Despite pleading guilty to the charges, Ms Marshall said she felt justified to grab her gun. She denied pointing the gun at the woman, claiming she had held it in her right arm below her hip. It was also unloaded, she said.
Ms Marshall, whose ill husband was away in care on the night of the indecent, initially intended to fight the charges, with her legal representative arguing that the “keep out” and “private property” signs meant she was within her rights. However, when the magistrate offered a 12-month good behaviour bond with no fine if she pleaded guilty, Ms Marshall changed her plea. Ms Marshall’s shotgun was seized and will be destroyed.
“I was worried about how I would pay any fine and it was two witnesses against my word,” Ms Marshall said. “I am very sorry I pleaded guilty, I would have liked to pursue the case for other people who find themselves alone and isolated and in that situation.”
Victoria Police would not comment on Ms Marshall’s case, but in a statement said: “Victoria Police asks that members of the public consider their own safety and that of others before taking matters into their own hands.
“We … urge members of the public to ring 000 for a police response in the first instance.”
Whatever, Victoria Police. Should the three people macheted in Melbourne the last two days have rung you guys and waited to turn up while they were being hacked? This woman was alone at night on a rural property and she is expected to wait hours for you to turn up? If this group of people had malevolent intentions she may not have even reached her phone.
Mrs Marshall’s response appeared reasonable in the circumstances. Did she know the intention of these people? Given all the rural firearm thefts Police have been going on about, how did she not know they were there to steal a firearm?
We’re surprised Loony Lisa Neville hasn’t given her a $50,000 fine as well.
If Mrs Marshall’s account is correct then on the basis of the information this is exactly a mirror image of David Dunstan case on the other side of the border. An elderly woman alone on a rural private property finds strangers trespassing late at night, grabs an unloaded firearm and does not point it at the offenders asking them to leave. The end result? No-one was harmed but the victim is punished.
Sure, she pleaded guilty but her alternative under Victoria’s pathetic justice system was to waste thousands fighting it out in court or possibly perish at the hands of three people if they were ill-intentioned. The act of her showing these people she had a firearm without pointing it is no different than a Policeman having his firearm in a holster – it’s just a subtle reminder there is a tool there. Maybe if she was able to carry a holstered pistol, this could have been different.
However, how is this different to the Dunstan case?
It’s this kind of disgraceful anti-victim, anti self-defence, anti-firearm culture within both the Australian justice system and Police culture that just drives a further wedge between the public and government. Victoria Police could have potentially exercised their discretion and not charged her, or warned her. Sure, there is an argument the other way too but on the basis of the information it would seem a far more reasonable approach.
I guess the bright side is Mrs Marshall may qualify for free footy tickets from Daniel Andrews.
Scant compensation for having your lawfully owned firearm used to defend your life and your property, being destroyed.
(yet) another case that needs to be pushed through to the HCA;
where are the SSAA when you need them?
“We … urge members of the public to ring 000 for a police response in the first instance.”
OK, then how about VicPol publish an area by area average response time so that the public know just how long they have to hold out?
Write to your locsl member of Parliament and have them ask the Minister of Police to answer your question.
☞Sure, she pleaded guilty but her alternative under Victoria’s pathetic justice system was to waste thousands fighting it out in court …. […..]☜
she pleaded “guilty” b’cs she knew that she had no real option since the SSAA is just a bunch of under-cover coppers and ASIO agents who are a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution……
obviously, she sub-consciously knew this….hence….she never contacted them for help/re: legal assistance because…..what would be the point?
The SSAA is under no obligation to fight a self defence based legal action for her, it is a sporting association – the CWA has as much obligation to fund her defence as the SSAA. Also, the tinfoil hat ‘undercover Cops/ASIO’ stuff does not advance your case.
You are constantly insisting that someone else must pay for this and calling them cowards because they don’t, yet you do not raise a finger – you need to put up or shut up.
So, you’re not denying that SSAA are undercover cops/ASIO ? Can we have a categorical denial ?
i’m “betting” that you and one or two others commenting here may well be some sort of under-cover coppers or ASIO them-selfs….
b’cs no genuine pro-gun person would suggest that a pensioner like me or, even, an ordinary AUssie should ‘take on’ the gun-grabbers in the HCA off their own bat….
any-one who does that is and out-and-out shill b’cs it would result in an adverse precedent being set which would ‘queer-the-pitch’ for any future legal challenges…..
that is: if the HCA even entertains such an appeal….
most of youse on here are abysmally ignorant of pretty much all legal matters…..
a HCA appeal will not even get ‘leave’ unless the appeal application is ‘spot on’….. all the “i” s dotted and all the “t” s crossed…..and…that’s not even considering the merits or OTW of the actual appeal and how it will go….
then….. you have to have serious legal representation
(“top-shelf” QCs)…or…..the HCA appeals bench will not even take you seriously and the appeal will get struck down…..or….worse yet!…be given a cursory examination and then struck down ….thereby setting an adverse precedent which will seriously ham-string any future such appeals….
Yep, you got me – my real identy is Bond, James Bond. and here we have the whiney little coward crying “I’m a pensioner, someone else has to fix the problem – all I have to do is complain and blame”, funny how an idiot like you thinks that every gun owner believes in exactly the same things.
Then, a litany of excuses from the whiney little bitch as to why he can’t do it – surely, by your own account, you have the legal precedent, and all firearms owners would kick in $100 each because we all want the same things, and at almost 1 million registered owners I would think you could crowdfund your legal challenge in a heartbeat (lets call it $90 mill). but you won’t because you are just a gob on a stick.
Who’s to say if she didn’t confront them what the consequences could have been . Another murder case .. We can all say we were lost why didn’t they yell out we are lost or whatever can anyone help us . Get on your phone and call police or someone for directions in the middle of the night . Don’t risk getting your head blown off they were lucky it wasn’t another person .. I would do the same thing or send out my dogs , don’t enter my property if their is a sign staying keep out .
“tin foil hat”? pfft…. pull yr head in, bozo!
any-one on here who doubts what i say abt the SSAA (including the ‘admin’ of this site) can contact Mr Ron Owen of Owen Guns Gympie either via ‘phone or via his FaceBook page to 100% verify my claims abt the SSAA……
until you’ve done that, yr just piss and wind, AFAIMC…..
put up or shut up yr-selfs!
we are not the ones calling on everyone else to fix the problem jellyfish.
I musta missed the bit where she was a SSAA member?
Sorry, but as much as it would be nice if they did, why should the SSAA involve themselves? They are a sporting club, not a political party. Maybe its something some of the other firearms groups could be involved in as political or activist bodies, but to bitch about the SSAA not stepping in seems absurd..
Why shouldn’t Baseball Australia step in, or Cricket Australia? We’d be better off if we were legally allowed to use bats as a defensive tool.. and more people have access to them..
At the end of the day, SSAA is no different to Cricket Aus.. any money they have should be going towards maintaining facilities, assisting actual members, etc.. I do think they could and should do a lot more, but on this its a bit silly to winge they should have done something..
☞At the end of the day, SSAA is no different to Cricket Aus☜
that’s simply preposterous!
they are supposed to represent the interests of Aussie gun-owners and shooters;
indeed, SSAA membership often satisfies the criteria of “valid reason” for a s/lc application;
also: the very fact that, every Federal election, they put out a how-to-vote form and clearly detail the fire-arms policies of each and every (major) political party obviously shows that they are not just a sporting organisation….
also: in the past (late 1990s) they actually did represent and help members who had been unjustly charged and prosecuted by the police…..
(re: the Laurie Morris case in late 1990s/Vic)
post-Port Arthur, though, it seems that they were ‘infiltrated’ by sinister, gun-grabbing forces….
viz: the fact that,currently, they categorically eschew self-defence as a reason for owning guns is a huge red flag in and of itself…..
also: whether or not they officially call them-selves a sporting organisation or not, the fact remains that tens of thousands of their members expect them to stand up for gun owners’ rights……
they must either lift-their-game or step down…..
let’s get real….for AUssies to get their guns back….we need an NRA-type org’ on steroids!
The SSAA represent THEIR MEMBERS you dullard.
No, SSAA does not satisy “valid reason”, it is a requirement to join a target shooting club affilliated with the SSAA and that club satisfies the valid reason criteria.
They put out how to vote etc because they are trying to preserve the sport that they represent.
Self defence is not a sport, the name is on the tin – they are the “XXXXX Shooters Association of Australia” go on, guess what the XXXXX stands for.
10s of thousands of members want the SSAA to risk going broke – really? you have surveyed the 10s of thousands of members have you? and they are all keen to have their membership rates skyrocket to fund legal cases are they?
and this is where you prove you are a gutless, do nothing, tinfoil hatted loser who hasn’t even done the research to see if we already have an NRA affiliated organisation that is pushing politicians for those rights and supporting those that do.
I’ll give you a hint, that organisation already exists, I’m a life member of it, perhaps you could stop whinging, drop the tinfoil hat bullshit, get off your arse and try putting your money where your mouth is. but you won’t, you’ll just whine that you can’t afford it and bitch that you don’t have the rights that better men and women than you are pushing for already.
The likes of you make me sick phantom. but for anyone else who is interested, look up the Shooters Union, they are big in Qld and expanding nationally.
pull yr head in, drongo!
the SSAA is the biggest and best funded shooting org. in AUssie…
just like the NRA is the biggest and best funded shooting-type org in the US;
all you got is piss and wind, you blonk…..
i/most SSAA members would not object to a one-off $AU100 annual payment to fund a major legal challenge that would see a major improvement in their gun-owner-ship rights;
ii/the fact that the SSAA doesn’t push for self-defence speaks for itself…they’re top-heavy with under-cover coppers and ASIO agents…
iii/the SU or wht-ever hasn’t got the member-ship or the $wherewithal$ to make the slightest difference to our current, draconian gun laws;
iv/its people like YOU that are the problem….mouthing-off know-nothings….
wht you know abt Ron Owen and the efforts he’s personally put in to get these bogus gun laws tossed, eh?
that’s some-one who’s done enough for TEN MEN and is a better man than you could ever hope to be!
go and spruik the official fractured fairy tale of the “Port Arthur massacre” some more, you gullible so-&-so!
More tinfoil hatted bullshit from the biggest waste of space infesting this site – you are so stupid that A. – you take the word of one man that SSAA is full of secret squirrel types and B. I note that you won’t even admit we already have an NRA affilliated group here in the shooters union. yet you bitch that we don’t have such an organisation.
Just how worthless a POS do you have to be to be constantly whining that we don’t push for rights, yet you aren’t prepared to look for and join the organisation that is working towards getting them?
The funny thing is that the acronym agencies don’t need to take over SSAA to discredit shooters – they just need to point people at the sort of idiotic crap that the likes of you post and we all look like a bunch of conspiracy theorist, X-Files, types.
You are a whiney child who won’t put in the work to get what you want but expect your betters (pretty much everyone else) to arrange it for you – if you were not so sad you’d be a joke, as it is you are just pathetic.
re Port Arthur, I live in southern Tasmania, I know people who were there you gutless shit, it happened – it isn’t justification for the laws we got, but give up on the tinfoil hat BS, it just shows you to be an idiot, which I’m fine with because you are – but your stupidity will be used by anti gun zealots to taint the rest of us. but you aren’t even smart enough to realise that.
WHO,S THIS H.BUTTLE DICK??
The communists first disarmed the Russian people, then between 1917 and 1957, they murdered 66,000,000 of them. Solzhenitsyn. Who were the communists ? Overwhelmingly they were Jews. Evidently, as we are not allowed to defend ourselves the Jewish controllers of ‘our’ govts in Australia want the same for us here, but they’ll use the Muslims to do their dirty work for them.
Have you read ‘Might is Right’ yet?
That is one excellent book. Should be on every fifteen yr olds bookshelf.
And reread every year.
Cases like these need to be brought to light in a much wider and much more public forum as the public insight would influence the common law to improve the standing of legal firearm owners in regards to defence on ones own property. Furthermore a petition à la David Dunstan would get the ball rolling.
Lisa Neville, and Vic Pol by association, has lost touch with community needs in regards to potentially urgent situations. The fastest response will always come from the person who feels under threat, not from an overwhelmed police presence who may or may not show up (often hours later) due to their resources being stretched too far. I agree wholeheartedly with this article. Self defense should be a natural right for anyone, but it seems Australia isn’t prepared to empower the potential victim here, but moreso empowering the assailant! This must change. It has to change!
Firstly, Self Defence is a right in every state (with reasonable force qualifications), what is needed is a right of effective self defence and a right to plan and prepare for it – as things stand, showing the intent to use force (by preparation) to defend self or property is essentially illegal.
The assumption is similar to stating that having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen demonstrates intent to burn down your home.
Re your point on response, at this time all I can suggest is that you make a point of correcting anyone who refers to Police as “first responders” – the first responders to a crime or terrorist event are the victims, it might be nice if they had some ability to make that response useful and effective.
again….you miss the point…
self defence is a right…..but it has nothing to do with state law;
there is a major High Court precedent case which over-rides and nullifies any state law for or against self-defence;
even back-in-the-day (1980s), people applying for shooters license never stated “self-defence” as a reason….they either said: “hunting” or “collection” or left that part of the application form blank;
the s/lc was issued then-and-there in the police station…usually by the desk sergeant in-attendance;
one of the most urgent requirements is that “illegal possession” of fire-arms not be made a criminal offence subject to severe terms of imprisonment….
that is where the gun-grabbers have it over every-one….
b’cs if you had such a fire-arm, you would be too scared to use if for self-defence b’cs of the ridiculously onerous legal penalties…..
further-more, the whole concept of “illegal possession” of a fire-arm is ludicrous if not absurd……how can possession of a hunk of inert metal be either ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ [?]
its utterly and totally preposterous!
once again, this is where an agent provacateur org’ like the SSAA is exposed and why, in a nut-shell, we’d be better off without them!
they do much more harm than good…..with their inane blather about “law abiding fire-arm owners”…which is, tacitly and by default, giving ammunition to the gun-grabbers and reinforcing the currently bogus and ILLEGAL gun ‘laws’ ….
there is NO SUCH THING as “a law abiding fire-arm owner” b’cs most of the current gun laws, as abv, are, them-selfs, bogus and illegal…..not only contravening many historical rights such as Magna Charta, Common Law and Bill of RIghts 1689 but, also, b’cs the pre-text for them…. the totally bogus “Port Arthur Massacre” is a big bunch of baloney!
again: there is no such thing as “a law-abiding fire-arm owner”;
there are only “law abiding citizens” !
so, in England, which, AFAIK, has no such org’ as the SSAA, the wind is now changing direction and the courts are, actually, refusing to prosecute people for using “illegally possessed” fire-arms for self-defence…..
cf: recent case where a home-owner shot dead a burglar…. given six-month suspended sentence…..
what am i trying to say here?
just this: it is nobody’s business why i may want to own a gun….most certainly not the government’s business…..just as it is no-one’s business why i may want to own any other inert, metallic object like, for instance, a lawn-mower, a washing machine, a ‘fridge or a portable generator….you may assume i want it for the purpose the afore-said objects were designed for…but…i am under no obligation(s) what-so-ever to either confirm or deny to you that is why i want them………
Then stop bitching that other people haven’t stood up and given it a challenge and put your money where your mouth is loudmouth – FFS you insist that the precedent is there, get off your lazy, gutless arse and do the deed.
It is time for you to put up or shut up and slink away as the coward we know you to be.
Woman called police for help moments before she died. at least we can all be glad that the community was again kept safe by her not having access to a firearm…
Yet again we see that, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.
Respectfully Harry,I’m not convinced that having access to a firearm would have been any help to this poor woman, as it was a a domestic argument that led to the presumably impulsive murder. This means that the weapon would have been stored in a locked gunsafe and both parties would likely have had access to it.
This is sad, but even in the US it’s illegal to go around pointing guns at people, until they actually become a threat–unless you are a cop…