Central Qld doctor pleads guilty to illegal gun collection
WHEN an innocent hobby got out of control, Dr Anthony Francis Dique found himself at the centre of one of the largest illegal firearm raids in Queensland history.
The 45-year-old respected rural practitioner pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court yesterday to nine weapons related charges including unlawful possession, modifying, manufacture, unsafe storage and improper discharge.
On November 25, 2013, police uncovered one of the largest holdings of illegal firearms, military style weapons, and ammunition in Queensland following an extensive search of Dique's property in Monto.
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The court heard detectives from the Drug and Serious Crime Group's Firearms Investigation Team along with detectives from the Central Region raided the property in Moonford, via Monto, and located 372 weapons in the residence, including fully automatic rifles, semi automatic rifles and handguns as well as over four tonnes of ammunition.
Of the 372 weapons found, Dique owned 19 illegal weapons consisting of 14 suppressors, a 303 receiver and AK47 assault rifle parts as well as three functioning weapons namely a pump action shotgun, a glock and a P226 handgun.
At the time of the raid, Dique was not present but other residents of the property, who are yet to appear in court, were in attendance.
On November 28, Dique met with police and provided them with a suitcase containing four weapons including a glock hand gun and a ruger mini rifle with related books as well as up to 10 suppressors (silencers) he had manufactured.
Dique's defence lawyer told the court the incident occurred while Dique was employed by Queensland Health as a Medical Superintendent at Monto in 2013.
"He was introduced to weapons by a work colleague who was a member of the local gun club. Dr Dique went along to the gun club and liked it so he went through the correct processes and joined and soon became the treasurer of the gun club," the defence lawyer said.
"He became good friends with the work colleague and his family and subsequently became somewhat part of their family. When they lost their property, Dr Dique purchased a property and then moved onto it as caretakers with him.
"It was a hobby that got out of control. The suppressors interested him not in a sinister way but in a mechanical way.
"As a result of the incident, Dr Dique was suspended by Queensland Health and now works in a private practice at Biloela. His wage was reduced from $600,000 per annum as the medical superintendent to $300,000 PA.
"He is unable to attend any Queensland Health facilities until court proceedings are dealt with. Dr Dique is a low risk of violence and a low risk of re-offending. Through his actions he is remorseful and horrified that he has broken the law. He has only done so in the past through two speeding fines."
Judge Michael Burnett sentenced Dique to nine months imprisonment wholly suspended with an operational period of three years, fined him a total of $2000 and disqualified him from holding a gun licence for five years.