Former Tasmanian MP escapes conviction for possessing unregistered handgun
A former politician has pleaded guilty to a firearm charge with a magistrate revealing the reason he escaped a conviction.
A former Tasmanian Liberal MP has escaped a conviction for possessing an unregistered handgun and ID cards after his initial eight charges were dropped.
Adam Richard Brooks greeted waiting media at Redcliffe Magistrates Court for sentencing on Wednesday as he walked in with his lawyer.
“Slow news day?” He quipped as he entered the courthouse.
The former Braddon MP was initially facing eight charges but on Wednesday he pleaded guilty to three charges relating to possessing a handgun and multiple ID cards that were not in his name.
The court was told police executed a search warrant at a Redcliffe apartment the 46-year-old was residing at on May 13 last year.
An unregistered handgun, three drivers licences and multiple credit cards were discovered in the master bedroom by officers.
None of the cards were in Brooks’ name.
Police prosecutor sergeant Timothy Clare said the items located were “concerning” as they were clearly not for legal use but acknowledged Brooks held a weapons licence.
Defence lawyer Brendan Beavon said his client’s possession of the items was an “error of judgment” while under severe stress.
But magistrate Paul Byrne said he needed more information as it was not clear how Brooks came to possess the items.
The court was told Brooks was “embarrassed” at the position he’d found himself in and resigned from parliament after charges were laid.
“What’s going on here?” He asked Mr Beavon.
“This needs a bit more explanation than the tiny umbrella of ‘poor choices’.”
Following a brief adjournment, Mr Beavon explained the licences and credit cards were unlawfully obtained from the head office of Tasmanian company Maintenance Systems Solutions and he had “hung onto them” when he moved states.
“The licences were also expired at the time of being found,” Mr Beavon said.
Brooks had since resigned as the company’s CEO and immediately stood down from Tasmanian parliament when the charges were first laid.
Mr Beavon said his client had been inspecting the handgun after flying home.
He said Brooks had no criminal history and had led successful careers in business and politics, winning at four elections until his resignation.
The court was told Brooks had been experiencing “extreme stress” at the time from media scrutiny in Tasmania.
His long-term relationship had also broken down.
“He’s embarrassed at the position he’s found himself in given his previous status within the community,” Mr Beavon said.
Magistrate Byrne issued one single fine of $5000 for all three offences, dismissing the initial eight charges.
He did not record convictions, taking into account the impact it could have on his future employment.
Outside court, Brooks offered little comment to the media aside from saying the matters were “dealt with” and he intended to “get on with the rest of his life”.