Saturday, 3 May 2008

Rocket launcher importer escapes jail

A 25-year-old man who admitted trying to illegally import prohibited ex-military weapons, including a rocket launcher, into Australia by post has escaped a jail sentence.

The Perth District Court handed down the $3,250 fine to Bradley Stephen Kennedy of Merriwa, Western Australia.

A customs statement released on Saturday said Mr Kennedy began importing his arsenal in August 2006.

The weapons, including a rocket launcher, a grenade launcher and a number of grenades and body armour, were purchased over the internet.

Mr Kennedy pleaded guilty to importing prohibited goods.

National Manager Investigations Richard Janeczko said the conviction should serve as a warning to those thinking of importing similar items.

"These are potentially very dangerous weapons that have the capacity to seriously maim or even kill innocent people and as such Customs takes attempts to illegally import these goods very seriously."

Customs began investigating in September 2006 after officers at the Sydney International Mail Centre intercepted a package containing a bullet proof vest.

Subsequent packages were found to contain a number of grenades, body armour plates, rubber bullets, a mini grenade launcher and a rocket launcher.

In total, customs officers intercepted 14 packages addressed to Mr Kennedy.

All the grenades were inert, but had fuses that could have been used to make them active

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