Man found with loaded pistol near court pleads guilty
A SOUTH Grafton man caught near Grafton Police Station with a loaded revolver in his backpack, has pleaded guilty to three firearms offences.
Matthew James Maton, 29, was refused bail during a court hearing which became closed to the public.
Magistrate Robyn Denes closed the court when she became aware of some matters which might prejudice the hearing.
Prior to that Maton's solicitor, Michelle Hermann, entered guilty pleas for her client on charges of possessing a loaded firearm in a public place, possessing an unauthorised pistol and possessing an unauthorised firearm-pistol.
The magistrate said the pleas did not necessarily help her client as the strength of the prosecution case was a major factor in making a decision on bail.
The prosecution said there was a maximum of 10 years jail for one of these charges.
The firearm in question was a .32 calibre Webley Mark IV six-shot revolver with four rounds of ammunition in the chamber.
The offence was alleged to have occurred on the corner of Duke and Victoria Sts, between 11.40am and 12.15pm on Monday.
The intersection is not only near the police station, but the court house, a school, Christ Church Cathedral, Clarence Valley Council offices and government office building.
Police say they detected Maton near the intersection and a search of his backpack revealed the loaded revolver.
They found Maton had never held a firearms licence.
The case has been referred to the Department of Public Prosecution.
Maton will appear again in Grafton Local Court by video link on December 6.