Gladiator found guilty on firearms charge



A GLADIATORS Motorcycle Club member was yesterday found guilty of possessing unregistered and prohibited firearms.

A jury found Steven Gardiner, 48, of Kungala, guilty on the charge of possessing one semi-automatic, sawn-off shotgun and four Chinese-made rifles.

The firearms were found in a police search of a storage unit at Hi-Tech Self Storage in Toormina on November 20, 2002. Gardiner, who was the president of the Grafton chapter of the Gladiators at the time, had taken out the lease on the storage unit in his name in October 1999, but in court claimed it had been used by many members of the motorcycle club.

He told the court he had no knowledge of the firearms and suspected he had been set up by a disgruntled member of the bike club or by the police.

The Crown asserted the unit was intended for Gardiner's personal use and under the Firearms Act he was required to prove he did not know, or could not reasonably be expected to know, the firearms were there.

The jury found Gardiner not guilty of six charges of possessing prohibited weapons.

Gardiner is being held in custody and will be sentenced in the Coffs Harbour District Court today.



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