A successful cattle farmer faced weapons and drugs charges at Townsville Magistrates Court. Generic image.
A successful cattle farmer faced weapons and drugs charges at Townsville Magistrates Court. Generic image.

Cattleman caught with old guns, flying doctor medicine

RIFLES that pre-date the Port Arthur weapons amnesty led to a successful cattle farmer facing serious weapons and drugs charges.

Colin Wallace Rea, who owns nine stations in Queensland and New South Wales, returned from mustering cattle to find police waiting for him at his Lotus Creek home, south west of Mackay.

Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Rachel Todd told Townsville Magistrates Court that on September 26 last year police discovered two rifles in a shed, two in an unlocked gun safe in the house, ammunition and explosive detonators.

Rea, 69, did not have a weapons or explosives licence.

But Rea's barrister Harvey Walters, instructed by Connolly Suthers, said three of the guns found did not work and were from before the Port Arthur massacre.

"Police had gone to the cattle station with a warrant in relation to another person," he said.

"My client has owned the cattle property in question since 1970 when he was balloted that development."

Mr Walters said when Rea was constructing his house, they found two of the rifles buried in the ground. The guns were then placed in the shed and left there.

"He acknowledges fully that he shouldn't have possessed those weapons," Mr Walters said.

"My client says he should have got a licence and he should have disposed of the weapons."

Mr Walters said the detonators dated back to the construction of his client's house.

Rea was also charged with possession of restricted and controlled drugs.

Mr Walters told Magistrate Cathy Wadley the drugs - morphine and pethidine - were part of an old Royal Flying Doctor Service kit.

"My client says they had just been put in an envelope and kept there," Mr Walters said.

"(His) former wife used to take care of all the paperwork, they separated in 2003, and my client should have kept the paperwork in place with the Flying Doctors."

The 69-year-old pleaded guilty to a total of nine charges.

Ms Wadley said she accepted this was out of character for Rea.

"You come before the court … (with an) unblemished history," she said.

No conviction was recorded and Rea must be well behaved for six months or he will be fined $600.

Rea was originally supposed to appear at Mackay Magistrates Court, but the matter was moved to Townsville after issues with flights.


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