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Mcdonnell vs. Commissioner of Police - (20 Nov 2020)

Commissioner has administrative power to revoke a licence where a licence holder has not supplied certain information


In present matter, on 4 October 2018, the Commissioner of Police, through his delegate, revoked the Appellant's firearm licence pursuant to Section 20 of the Firearms Act, 1973 (WA) (Firearms Act). The Appellant's licence was revoked on the basis that, the Appellant had failed to respond to a written request to make a show cause submission under Section 20(1a)(b) of the Firearms Act. The Appellant seeks leave to appeal against that decision.

Under the Firearms Act, a person is required to apply for a licence or permit to acquire or possess a firearm. Without a licence issued under the Act, the possession of a firearm is prohibited in Western Australia. The Firearms Act specifically provides that, an approval or permit cannot be granted unless the applicant has a genuine reason for acquiring or possessing the particular firearm. It is open for the Commissioner to determine that a person is not a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence under Section 20(1)(a)(iii) of Firearms Act, without the Commissioner seeking information from the applicant prior to making the decision. The power to refuse to renew or to revoke a licence only arises if the Commissioner is satisfied that one of the matters under Section 20(1) of Firearms Act applies. That is, unless there is a basis upon which the Commissioner can be satisfied of one of the subparagraphs of Section 20(1) of Firearms Act, the Commissioner does not have power to refuse to renew or revoke a licence.

Section 20(1a) of Firearms Act confers on the Commissioner an administrative power to revoke a licence where a licence holder has not supplied certain information, or made a submission, within 28 days of the date of the request, unless the Commissioner grants an extension of time. The section gives the Commissioner the power to issue a written request to: (a) supply information that the Commissioner considers necessary in order to determine whether or not the holder remains a fit and proper person; or (b) make a submission to show cause why the power of revocation should not be exercised.

The legislative purpose of Section 20(1a) is to enable the Commissioner to obtain further information or submissions from a licence holder prior to exercising the power of revocation under Section 20(1) of Firearms Act. The Appellant has not demonstrated any error of law in the reasons of the Tribunal Appeal dismissed.


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