Rifle confiscated in hunter's fourth conviction

A passionate hunter and fisherman had his $6000 rifle confiscated - but the judge has generously allowed him to keep the $3000 scope.

In New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday, Christopher John Richards, 42, admitted the unlawful possession of a firearm after having his licence revoked two years ago.

At 9pm on October 19, Richards was stopped at a police checkpoint.

A search of his car revealed the Sako 223 rifle hidden behind the back seat and nine rounds of live ammunition on the floor.

Defence lawyer Amy Dallison said Richards, a tourism operator who was passionate about the outdoors, was now unable to carry out his business.

She asked for a suspended sentence.

Richards intended to reapply for his licence, Ms Dallison said.

But Judge Max Courtney said a suspended sentence was "entirely inappropriate" for Richards, a repeat offender who should know better.

Richards had three previous firearms convictions.

He had already been given a chance in the past and, through his latest actions, had shown he had failed to respect this, the judge said.

Richards' involvement in the tourism industry would leave him in no doubt of his legal requirements, Judge Courtney said.

Richards was convicted, with the judge making a limited order confiscating the rifle but allowing Richards to keep the scope and rings.

Richards was also fined $500.

Taranaki Daily News