A New Zealand man faces up to 10 years in jail for his alleged involvement in the daring theft of pump-action shotguns and semi-automatic pistols from a patrol boat at a Darwin navy base.

James Hau, 40, has been bailed on charges of possessing two shotguns and 12 pistols.

Hau, who has been working as a DJ in Darwin, was arrested after police raided his home after the robbery from HMAS Bathurst last Thursday.

The robbery was a major embarrassment for the navy and has led to a review of security at HMAS Coonawarra, a key base for border control operations and the interception of asylum seekers.


Bathurst was moored at the base when a masked man boarded the vessel, overpowered a navy guard, bound him with cable ties and broke into the armoury. He was able to take the weapons from the base without detection.

Hau maintained that he did not know the weapons had been stolen when they were left with him.

But prosecutor Rebekah O'Meagher told a magistrates court that the robbery and description of the weapons had been headline news and that Hau would have been aware the guns had been stolen from the navy.

Hau had refused to name the person who allegedly gave him the weapons.

Although Ms O'Meagher described Hau as a flight risk, Magistrate David Dalrymple granted bail but ordered him to surrender his passport, stay away from Darwin's international airport and remain within 50km of the city.