National Shooting Council - self-defence legal fight

In this article:

  • NSC backs shooter on gun charges in key self-defence fight:

  • The NT News has covered the story;

  • Local MP, Kezia Purick, is following the matter closely;

  • A date for the hearing has been set for October 19 – and we need your help

ALICE SPRINGS SHOOTER, RON STERRY, is likely to plead Not Guilty in defence of five firearm charges after going to the aid of a neighbour who had been stabbed.

A few weeks ago, we brought you his story which you can see by clicking here.

He just wanted to stay safe

Ron Sterry heard a commotion outside this house earlier this year, when he realised his neighbour had been stabbed.  A trained first aider, Ron couldn’t just stand by.

The problem was, it was dark, and the assailant was on the loose in a town which is known as the stabbing capital of the world.

He could have stayed home and turned the volume of TV up. 

However that’s not Ron.  Instead he grabbed his first aid kit and head out.  He took his Model 1917 Eddystone 30.06 (similar to pictured left) with him for protection.

He helped his neighbour and stayed with her until the ambulance and police turned up.  He didn’t need to use his rifle so started to head off when help arrived.

 

The first police on the scene told Ron to get the gun out of there, which he had already started to do by heading home.  However a second group of police who then arrived on the scene weren’t as forgiving and went after him. Why they went after Ron rather than the assailant isn’t known. 

Instead they seized Ron’s rifle and ammo, and later other firearms he had stored at home.

Court appearances

This matter has since gone through some preliminary directions hearing, with Ron deciding to plea Not Guilty.

As a result, this matter will now go to a ‘contested hearing’ on October 19.  Technically it’s not a ‘trial’ because there no jury, but to laypeople like us, it’s the same thing.

The potential outcomes are quite serious, which is why we’re giving Ron the help he needs. Even if Ron just cops a fine, the consequences for him could include a loss of his firearms licence for two years.

That’s why we’ve hired two lawyers to help him, including Jon Bortoli, a top lawyer from Darwin who came recommended to us from the NT Firearms Council

We want Ron to be vindicated for what he did, as will no doubt do many of you. Ron’s the good guy in this.

Media coverage

The headline you saw at the beginning of this article from the NT News on 17 August, says it all. 

The rest of the article is shown here.

Local MP and NSC member, Kezia Purick, has taken a real interest in Ron’s case.  When this matter started, she spoke with him. 

While she cannot intervene in the case, she can certainly put the issues that this matter raises to the NT Parliament at the right time.

The article quotes her as saying

“Ron did what many would not do – he went into a violent situation to render first aid to a victim without a thought for his own safety”

This is not the last time we’ll hear from Kezia on this matter.

A right to self-defence?

Behind this question is the obvious one of a person’s right to take reasonable precautions to protect themselves.

The first rule of giving first aid is to assess the danger to the person giving the assistance.

Ron did that.  Whether the law is there to help people or hinder people like Ron remains to be seen.

The charges

Ron is now facing five charges. They are

  1. Carry a loaded firearm in a public place
  2. Carry a firearm in a public place;
  3. Carry a controlled weapon in public;
  4. Being armed in public; and
  5. Possess a firearm (contrary to the genuine reason).
National Shooting Council - self-defence legal fight

How you can help

Thank you to everyone who donated to our original fundraiser for Ron. 

The fact we are now fighting all charges, with two lawyers and flying one of them to Darwin for the hearing in October, means that we’ll be spending a fair bit more than we thought.  

However Ron’s decision to fight the charges was not taken lightly. He considered the advice given carefully and came to a decision that we support. That’s why we’re backing him – because this is an important case for the rights of shooters trying to do the right thing.

Please help out if you can – and join the NSC if you aren’t a member yet

12 thoughts on “Firearm charges to be contested in NT self-defence case

  1. Michael says:

    The fundamental approach now being taught at 1st aid courses is DRABC: –

    DANGER – assess the environment for any continuing or new threat to avoid further injury
    Response
    Airway
    Breathing
    Circulation

    On that point the 1st responder should be applauded!

    • Ron Sterry says:

      Unlike other states, in the NT it is a chargeable offence to not render aid to a person.
      Criminal Code (NT). Section 155 says: “Any person who, being able to provide rescue, resuscitation, medical treatment, first aid or succour of any kind to a person urgently in need of it and whose life may be endangered if it is not provided, callously fails to do so is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.”

  2. Rob Newbury says:

    Charges 2,3&4 are covered in charges 1&5, but it’s a pretty sick country when a victim can end up worse off than a potential murderer, solely because they pre armed themselves with any form of defensive implement in case of attack or intrusion

  3. cohenite says:

    The guy is covered by S.29 of the NT Criminal Code Act for defending the other person. The problem he has is he involved his weapon in the act of self defence for which there was no licence. This dilemma has happened in other states including NSW where the self defence rights in the Criminal Code are much stronger then in the NT but if you involve a gun which is only licenced for other purposes that is the sticking point.

    A common law right uniting the legal ownership of the gun for purposes other then self defence and acting in a way consistent with the self defence provisions of the relevant act using the gun has to be found for the court defence to succeed.

  4. Lawrence Lyons says:

    Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR ) signed by Australia in 1948. Article 3 “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”
    The UDHR falls under customary international law and is not set down in treaties or other documents. However, Australia later signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
    This is a multilateral treaty and “security of the person” within the context of UDHR explanatory notes is a requirement upon the Australian Government to create appropriate legislation.

    (1) the human right of the security of person, acts or omissions by the State; and
    (2) lawful right of self-defense – acts or omissions by a person.

    In this particular case, the police have contravened Article 3 in removing the visible deterrent i.e. acts of the State that diminish personal security.

    Sincerely hope the lawyers recognise the opportunity to reference the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

  5. Lawrence Lyons says:

    Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR ) signed by Australia in 1948. Article 3 “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”
    The UDHR falls under customary international law and is not set down in treaties or other documents. However, Australia later signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
    This is a multilateral treaty and “security of the person” within the context of UDHR explanatory notes is a requirement upon the Australian Government to create appropriate legislation.

    (1) the human right of the security of person, acts or omissions by the State; and
    (2) lawful right of self-defense – acts or omissions by a person.

    In this particular case, the police have contravened Article 3 in removing the visible deterrent i.e. acts of the State that diminish personal security.

    Sincerely hope the lawyers recognize the opportunity to reference the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

  6. Marv says:

    Self defense is an inalienable right. Any claim to the contrary is a claim of ownership and therefore slavery.

    Government is becoming more and more authoritarian by the day.

  7. Tony says:

    If Ron was a marshal arts expert with black belt +dans would he have been arrested even though if the perpetrator had attacked him he may have killed him stone dead just as he could have done with his rifle. If Ron was so endowed with marshal art qualifications, should he have stayed indoors and so as not to put the perpetrator of the stabbing in any sort of risk? We have the ludicrous situation right now where an NT Police man is facing charges of murder because according to political judgement, he must have changed his mind from trying to save his partner to wanting to Kill the offender (who was trying to kill the policeman) in the space of less than 2 seconds. He should have known that the 1st shot fired, which did not stop the attack, meant that to fire another 1 or 2 shots would leave him open to a charge of Murder? So he should have let the perpetrator continue in his attempted murder of the policeman being attacked.

  8. J. Ades says:

    As usual, the govt and police have got it all wrong ( nothing new here ) Ron should have been applauded for his efforts in saving the victim, not bloody well crucified by the cops n govt which is intruding upon our lives every day

  9. Clayton Draper says:

    Good on him! I’d have done the same thing! Hopefully true justice will prevail for the Good Samaritan!

  10. Bill reis says:

    You cannot give this man any sort of sentence 🤷‍♂️Because he is only doing what a human being should! Go to the aid of another human being 🥰in the nature of the violence in that particular area I say it is more than just ,to carry a weapon to ensure his safety whilst in the course of aiding another soul . Should we be looking after the criminals or the people unjustly dealt with by the criminals 🤷‍♂️Justice and equality are something I really hope someday can be achieved . I hope this day finds you well 👍

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