That escalated quickly.
After we reported on WA Police and their attempts to effectively harass the Ella Valla Range into closing down over .50 calibre firearms, this happened (letter truncated for privacy):
You can read what Mr Aylmore said here. As we said last week, he is absolutely spot on.
Are WA Police really this offended by words?
This is what Section 100 of the Act actually says:
“100. Contempt (1) If the President is satisfied that an act or omission of a person would constitute a contempt of the Court if a proceeding of the Tribunal were a proceeding in the Supreme Court, the President may report that act or omission to the Supreme Court and the Court has jurisdiction to deal with the matter as if it were a contempt of the Court.”
Bit of a long bow to draw.
This is a civil case and not a criminal one – there’s no jury involved and the case is being decided upon by a Tribunal member. It is understood that no suppression or gag order has been put in place or even applied for by WA Police. It is highly unlikely that the President, a Supreme Court Judge, is going to care about Mr Aylmore’s public opinion of a case that is in the public domain and of interest to over 80,000 firearm owners in WA, given that the ABC has also already undertaken coverage of said case and WA Police have not protested.
Call this for what it is, a not so veiled threat of censorship by WA Police and an attempt to intimidate Mr Aylmore into silence. Are WA Police themselves trying to influence the Tribunal into issuing a frivolous charge of contempt by this action?
WAPOL’s original case is rubbish. There is nothing in the Firearms Act of Western Australia which stipulates that someone has to justify the genuine reason criterion twice, particularly after already being approved by Police. There is no definition of “Very Powerful Firearm” within the Act itself, so it’s pretty clear to us that WA Police are way over their heads on this one and are now in damage control.
Of course, we’re not lawyers and we’ll leave that in the capable hands of Ross Williamson. Although we are facing a similar issue in Queensland regarding the Wedgetail WT-15 on similar grounds, we have not encountered anything remotely the same in terms of behaviour from Queensland Police as Shane Aylmore has from WA Police.
It also appears that WA Police likely didn’t expect the level of public outrage and push back and are now trying the strong-arm approach. Quite frankly, that just makes them look even worse. Seriously, do WA Police just expect Mr Alymore to just shut up and take it? There’s also radio silence from Police Minister Michelle Roberts on this, which is not surprising.
Sure, the issue is ultimately for the Tribunal to decide upon. But there’s a very simple solution to this whole unnecessary saga: WA Police withdraw the order and go back to doing what they should be doing in regards to firearms: that being catching criminals and cracking down on illegal firearms, which the LAFO community will unanimously support.
It’s repeated actions like this by Australian Police jurisdictions and their respective licencing branches towards firearm owners, that just further create division and distrust in the community towards Police. It’s completely unnecessary authoritarian idiocy.
If you’d like to contribute to the Ella Valla Legal Fund you can contribute here.