Gladiator?s defence ?doesn?t make sense

THE evidence in the trial of a Gladiators Motorcycle Club member, charged with possession of unregistered firearms, flies in the face of the claim he was set up by another club member or the police, Coffs Harbour District Court heard yesterday.

Crown prosecutor Jon Baxter-Wright told the jury in his closing address that when faced with the evidence, the idea that Steven Gardiner, 48, of Kungala, had been set up 'doesn't make sense'.

Gardiner is standing trial on one count of possessing unregistered, prohibited firearms and six counts of possessing prohibited weapons.

The charges relate to a sawn-off shotgun, four Chinesemade rifles and items including ammunition, a silencer, a replica revolver, two extendable batons and a set of handcuffs allegedly found during a police search of a storage unit at High-Tech Self Storage at Toormina on November 20, 2002. On the same day, police searched the clubhouse of the Gladiators in Turf Street, Grafton, where they allegedly found three loaded firearms in a wooden box behind the bar. Gardiner's Kungala residence was also searched.

The storage unit was rented in the name of Gardiner, who gave evidence during the trial that he had done so on the instructions of another club member so it could be used to store club equipment.

The crown case is that Gardiner rented the unit for his own purposes and as a result the law requires the defendant to prove he did not know, or could not reasonably be expected to know, the firearms were there. The trial continues.

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