Wild ride leads to firearms and drug charges

UPDATE: SOUTH Grafton man Michael Duncan, 32, has been bail refused to reappear in Coffs Harbour Local Court on November 4.


MONDAY 11.45AM: THE sight of a police car in the rear-view mirror must have come as a relief for a woman allegedly being attacked by her armed partner while driving through Coffs Harbour on Saturday night.

The South Grafton woman, 29, and man, 32, were travelling near the intersection of Orlando St around 7pm when the man allegedly struck her with his fists, a firearm and a glass bottle.

Police allege the man then pointed the gun at her head.

At that moment the woman noticed the police vehicle pulling up behind her and she fled her vehicle, telling officers the male passenger had a gun.

Her car then rolled driverless across the intersection until one of the police officers jumped in and stopped it on the footpath.

The man, still sitting in the front passenger seat, is alleged to have been drunk and under the influence of cannabis and crystal methylamphetamine.

Police say the man was removed from the vehicle and a small quantity of cannabis was found on him during a subsequent search.

A firearm loaded with a .22 calibre bullet was then allegedly found by police at the foot of the man's seat, while a further search of the vehicle allegedly produced ammunition, and evidence of crystal methylamphetamine use and alcohol consumption in the car.

The man was taken to Coffs Harbour Police Station where it was found an apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO) to protect the woman from her partner had been issued by Maclean Local Court last month.

Three arrest warrants were also issued by the court for the man's arrest as he is alleged to have failed to appear in court that day.

Police allege the man had been using crystal methylamphetamine, cannabis and alcohol prior to Saturday night's incident.

They are also investigating a related domestic dispute matter on Friday, in Lee Cres, South Grafton, where a firearm was allegedly produced and discharged.

The man has been charged with two counts of firearms offences, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, two counts of breaching an ADVO, possession of a prohibited drug (cannabis) and the three arrest warrants.

He was bail refused by police to appear in Coffs Harbour Local Court today.

Coffs-Clarence Local Area Command crime manager, Detective Inspector Darren Jameson, said last night's incident highlighted the extreme dangers police found themselves in every day.

"The bravery and fortitude displayed by these officers exemplify the courage and strong character of our police officers," Det Insp Jameson said.

"However, again we see cannabis and crystal methylamphetamine at the heart of serious and violent crimes in our community.

"Each drug, albeit cannabis, crystal methylamphetamine and alcohol by themselves pose a risk to community safety, but when combined together, we see a new level of criminality and violence.

"This is why they are illegal and remain dangerous to community safety."

Investigations into the two incidents are continuing and police are appealing for anyone with information, particularly relating to the South Grafton incident, to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the online reporting page.

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