Plumber gets benefit of doubt

CARPENTER Luke Collins had his tools scrutinised by police when they stopped him for a random breath test.

They checked out his work ute and equipment after seeing what they described as a 70cm long home-made steel side-grip baton on the driver’s side floor of the ute.

Collins, 28, of Alstonville pleaded guilty in the Ballina Local Court to a charge of being in custody of an offensive implement at Alstonville on November 15 last year, despite telling the officers he used it only to change the wheel nuts on his Nissan ute.

Collins had the charge against him dismissed without conviction by Magistrate Kim Pogson after his defence lawyer and good neighbour Vince Boss spoke of personally knowing the carpenter, saying he would not have been carrying the implement to use as an offensive weapon.

“He was not trying to hide it. He uses it as a tool for the fastening of wheel nuts,” Mr Boss said.

“It’s a brace and fits his vehicle and can be used for leverage to get underneath the ute if he has difficulty with a flat.

“There was an abundance of tools in his vehicle and in the rear tray.

“I have known this man four years and I am prepared to give oral testimony under oath.”

Mr Boss said Collins was a passive man and a good neighbour who last year helped his family and others following damage to their homes from severe storms.

“He has since looked at the implement and in hindsight can see that it could serve as an offensive weapon,” Mr Boss said.

Mr Pogson, after looking at a police photo of the implement, said it was not the usual type of offensive weapon that came before the court.



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