Patched Auckland Bandidos gang 'courier' jailed over firearms haul following Dunedin burglary

Police at the scene of the burglary last year. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Police at the scene of the burglary last year. Photo / Otago Daily Times

A patched Bandidos gang member from Auckland has been jailed for 20 months over possessing a haul of weapons.

The charges came following the burglary of a Dunedin address on October 25, where a cache of firearms and ammunition were stolen, but Grant Andrew Latimer had no role in the burglary.

Five rifles and 23 handguns, including several military-style semi-automatic firearms, and ammunition, were taken from a flat in Maitland St, police said.

The 57-year-old appeared at the Dunedin District Court this afternoon having pleaded guilty to four counts of possessing a weapon and four of receiving, as well as possessing 2400 rounds for the firearms.

Three of the firearms were military-style, semi-automatic rifles, one of which had a scope.

He was also convicted of failing to stop for police and possession of the class-B drug amphetamine.

Defence counsel Elliot Higbee said his client only had possession of the rifles for a short time.

"He had no knowledge of the burglary. For an hour he assisted in carrying the bags containing the firearms," he said.

"His control over those rifles and ammunition was limited. There's no brandishing, there's no presenting."

Mr Higbee said the police accepted Latimer's role was one of courier and he was only found with one Smith and Wesson .50 calibre pistol.

The defendant came to Dunedin on November 8 with associates and the following day couriered bags from a house on Canongate to Waitati.

Once there, a member of his party asked if they could store something there and Latimer hid two bags containing the weapons.

He later returned to get the pistol and police signalled for him to pull over as he drove back through Waikouaiti.

When he sped up, back-up was called and he was eventually stopped and the vehicle searched.

Latimer's son and daughter had flown from Auckland for today's sentencing and described him as a "loving family man".

He was a grandfather and was engaged to be married, they said.

The court heard he had a limited criminal history and had never been to prison before.

However, Judge Kevin Phillips rejected any suggestion of home detention.

The haul of firearms were worth $10,500, charge sheets stated.

A 56-year-old man is also before the court on many of the same charges as Latimer and will be back in front of a judge next month.

- Otago Daily Times

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