Man fires arrows, cops find poison, drugs and explosive ammo
A BUNDABERG magistrate has told a man that he has lost his "moral compass" after the defendant shot arrows into his neighbour's yard and was charged with a string of offences including possession of drugs, poison and explosives.
Appearing in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court, Daniel John Stevens pleaded guilty to a total of seven charges.
Police were called to a residential property in Branyan on June 19, when the next-door neighbour of the defendant reported Stevens was shooting arrows over the fence and into his backyard.
When they arrived, the victim said Stevens had deliberately shot two arrows into his yard, aiming them towards his bird aviaries.
The victim said the defendant then entered his yard, approached him and refused to leave when asked to, which led to a verbal argument.
Police questioned Stevens about the matter and the defendant said he had been "mucking around" with his son in their own backyard, shooting a bow and arrow when they accidentally shot two over the fence.
He admitted that he entered the yard without permission to retrieve the arrows and did not leave when asked because he believed there were "no laws to say I can't go into someone else's yard."
About six weeks later and on the afternoon of August 2, police observed the defendant leaving a motel on Bourbong St.
Stevens made eye contact with the officers briefly, before walking towards a black Holden, where he proceeded to sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle with the door left open for some time.
Aware of another person who was supplying dangerous drugs from the same motel, police exited their vehicle, approached the defendant and began asking him questions about where he had been.
Providing vague responses to police, Stevens repeatedly looked at a backpack which was sitting in the rear seat of the vehicle, causing police to ask if he had anything to declare.
Admitting to having cannabis with him, the defendant said he was not aware it was a criminal offence to possess it.
Conducting a search of the vehicle, police found four clipseal bags inside a plastic container, containing a total of 119g of cannabis, as well as an additional 15g in the centre console, making it a total of 134g.
Police also found a bong and when they questioned the defendant about it, he said it wasn't his but he knew what it had been used for and that it was in his car.
Later on September 9, police executed a search warrant as part of an investigation relating to another person, but Stevens was also present at the time.
Multiple drug related items were found on the property, including two glass pipes, digital scales and a cutting piece which had been used to cut up cannabis.
The defendant said he owned one of glass pipes but was unsure who owned the other one.
But that wasn't all police discovered in Stevens' possession, also finding a 100ml bottle of liquid nicotine, Seroquel tablets and explosive ammunition.
When asked why the defendant had liquid nicotine, which is considered an illegal substance as it has the potential to cause poisoning if swallowed or absorbed through the skin, he said it was for his baby.
Stevens said his ex-partner purchased it online and he was unaware it was illegal to possess it.
Four small orange-coloured Seroquel tablets were discovered in a small clipseal bag, which the defendant said he did not have a prescription for, but had been given them by a friend as he had been having trouble sleeping and made him feel 'drowsy, like Valium'.
A box containing 15 Federal American Eagle Centerfire handgun cartridges was also found, to which Stevens was unable to provide any reason as to why the ammunition was in the house.
Telling police he wasn't sure who the cartridges belonged to and didn't know how they got there, the defendant denied owning them himself.
His criminal history was revealed to the court, which included drug related offences, public nuisance charges, unlawful possession of a weapon and being placed on probation in 2007.
Appearing to have stayed out of trouble for a few years, Stevens has had no charges listed since 2016.
Living in Bundaberg for most of his life, the defendant's defence lawyer said this year had been a difficult one for Stevens.
The court heard the father-of-two children, aged 18 months and 10 years old, had experienced an acrimonious break-up with his previous partner and the mother of his youngest child.
After he was involved in a car crash, which destroyed his vehicle, the defendant found it difficult to travel, particularly to and from work.
Despite this challenge, the 32-year-old defendant has held on to his job, where he works for a family member's business.
The defendant's defence lawyer said Stevens acknowledges what he did is wrong and accepts he should have left his neighbour's yard when he was first asked to do so.
He said the defendant and his neighbour initially got along, but over time began to dislike each other, which may have contributed to this confrontation.
Magistrate Anthony Moloney said while he understood 2020 had been a challenging year for the defendant, it had been for the rest of the world too.
"Over a short period of time you seem to have lost your moral compass," he said.
"You are a family man - you've got a 10-year-old and an 18-month-old and you're going through a particularly difficult time and the separation is going to cause you to have to sell your home.
"You've turned to illicit substances to effectively self-medicate and try to make yourself feel better, but you've probably worked out that's not the greatest idea and if you are going to be involved in family law proceedings, drug offences are the worst things that you could have floating around."
Wrestling with whether or not to record a conviction, the magistrate came to the conclusion that he would instead reflect the seriousness of the offences by the size of the fine.
Stevens was fined $1200 for all charges, which was referred to SPUR and items were forfeited for destruction.
No conviction was recorded.