13 Jan 2017

Gang member sentenced over stolen Dunedin guns

8:54 am on 13 January 2017

An Auckland gang member has been jailed after admitting he received a cache of weapons stolen from a Dunedin house.

Grant Andrew Latimer

Grant Andrew Latimer Photo: RNZ / Lydia Anderson

Patched Bandidos gang member Grant Andrew Latimer, 57, pleaded guilty in November to 11 charges including receiving and possessing stolen guns, some of which were military-style semi-automatic weapons.

The charges followed the burglary of the house in October, in which five rifles, 23 handguns, and ammunition were stolen.

Police launched a public appeal for the recovery of the weapons, and at the time of Latimer's arrest, police said they believed the weapons had been stolen to be sold on to the "criminal fraternity".

Two other men and a woman have been charged in relation to the burglary itself, but Latimer faced no charges on that incident.

He appeared in the Dunedin District Court for sentencing today, where his lawyer, Elliot Higbee, argued Latimer had no knowledge of where the weapons came from, and was simply asked to transport them.

Mr Higbee said Latimer's offending was at the lower end of the scale, and was more suited to a sentence of home detention.

He said it was Latimer's first offence, and he was a caring grandfather, was engaged and cared for his elderly mother.

However Judge Kevin Phillips said Latimer gave no thought to his family when he went to a Dunedin house with an associate in November and received two bags of guns, which he then drove to another address in Waitati.

Judge Phillips said Latimer hid the guns at the Waitati address, but later came back and took a pistol from the stash.

While driving north with the pistol in his car, Latimer failed to stop for police at Waikouaiti, but was eventually stopped and police found the pistol and a small amount of amphetamine.

Judge Kevin Phillips said it was unlikely Latimer did not know the guns were stolen.

"They hadn't come down from heaven in a shower of rain had they?"

To Latimer, Judge Phillips said he needed to be held accountable, and his possession of the pistol in particular was serious offending.

"I have to impose on you somehow, a sense of responsibility," he said.

"I have to have regard that you were there at the coalface in respect of the movement of these firearms."

Latimer was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison.