Inspector loses appeal to get back gun licence
By DARREN GOODSIR
THE chairman of the Police Shooting Club last night lost a long-running battle to overturn the withdrawal of his personal gun licence.
Chief Inspector Peter Dawson was told he was not a fit and proper person to be entitled to possess his own firearm.
His licence was withdrawn in July last year after it was discovered he had posted a shotgun to Australia for repair without approval.
The shotgun belonged to prominent barrister Kevin Egan.
Administrative Appeals Board chairman, Mr Justice Leong, said the former commissioner, Li Kwan-ha, had not erred in taking 21/2 years to decide Chief Inspector Dawson should have his licence revoked.
Mr Justice Leong said that after taking into account all relevant circumstances, the revocation order was proper and reasonable.
Despite the ruling, Chief Inspector Dawson is still allowed to carry his service revolver.
He can also participate in shooting competitions on the proviso he uses only the shooting club's weapons.
Yesterday's historic first sitting of the board - established in June to deal with a plethora of public complaints over the issuing of licences and permits - took seven hours and involved a review of documents and the taking of legal submissions.
During the sitting, the board of three heard that Chief Inspector Dawson had been unfairly treated in being denied his licence.
His barrister, Simon Westbrook, detailed several cases where breaches of the Firearms Ordinance had occurred, but no licence revocation had followed.
These involved the leaving of ammunition in a garbage bin, the theft of ammunition from a police officer's locker and a case in which a detective left a gun in a taxi.
In all cases contended Mr Westbrook, the licences had not been revoked.
Chief Inspector Dawson's role in posting the shotgun to Australia emerged during an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation into the dealings of former government lawyer, Warwick Reid.
In March, a Police Disciplinary Inquiry Board found Chief Inspector Dawson had indulged in conduct calculated to bring the public service into disrepute.
Chief Inspector Dawson is appealing to the Governor.
The Administrative Appeals Board has power to confirm or overturn a decision or, alternatively, to recommend a different form of action.
Another five matters are expected to be heard in the next few weeks.