Two men in their 70s have appeared in court on weapons charges.
Two men in their 70s have appeared in court on weapons charges.

Pest control lands elderly farmers in court

TAKING care of farm business has landed two men in their 70s in court on weapons charges.

Bernard James Doherty, 78, and Barry John Lyons, 73, both appeared in the Toogoolawah Magistrates Court charged with unlawful possession of a category weapon and possession of explosives.

Police received information regarding reported firearm use on a farming property owned by Doherty.

When police arrived, they were met by Lyons in a vehicle.

When police told him why they were there, Lyons informed officers there were “a couple of firearms” in the back seat.

The police found a .22 calibre rim-fire rifle and a 410 shotgun – both category A weapons. A box of ammunition for both the rifle and shotgun was also found.

Police returned the next day to speak to Doherty who told police he had taken the weapons out of a gun safe the previous day and put them in the vehicle, before leaving them unsecured.

Neither Doherty, nor Lyons, possessed a weapons licence and the firearms belong to Doherty’s son-in-law.

Anthony Kingston represented both men and told the court the pair operate a farming business at the property and were using the weapons to shoot birds destroying crops.

“They were having some issues with the drought … there’s certainly no suggestion there was improper usage of the firearms, they weren’t yahooing,” Mr Kingston said.

He applied to the judge to have the pair discharged as he noted should a conviction be recorded, they would be prevented from applying for a weapons licence for five years which given their age would be prohibitive.

Magistrate Barrett agreed, discharging both men without recording convictions.

He did however apply four-month good behaviour bonds for both.

The weapons were to be returned to Doherty’s son-in-law but the ammunition was forfeited to the crown.