News People NRL star pleads guilty to firearms charge from virus lockdown breach
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NRL star pleads guilty to firearms charge from virus lockdown breach

latrell mitchell virus charges
The group went dirt-biking on beaches in the South West Rocks area. Photo: Josh Addo-Carr
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South Sydney NRL star Latrell Mitchell has pleaded guilty to a firearms charge stemming from a weekend camping trip to the NSW Mid-North Coast.

Mitchell was charged with giving a firearm to a person not authorised by a licence or permit.

He was one of a group of men who visited his property at Caffreys Flat, north-west of Taree, in late April, when a coronavirus travel ban was in place.

Police began investigating after videos were posted to social media on April 26.

Melbourne Storm’s Josh Addo-Carr posted photos and videos to his Instagram account, which showed the group huddled around a fire at the property.

At the time, NSW coronavirus social distancing laws prevented non-essential travel and gatherings of people from different households.

In an Instagram video, Mitchell said the incident had been “a little bit of a slip-up”.

According to police facts presented to court on Tuesday, police found the “remains of a large campfire still emanating heat”, 26 spent shotgun shells, and alcohol bottles matching those used as targets in the video.

Mitchell did not appear in person, but in an email to the court, his lawyer Matthew Davis said he was asking for a longer-than-usual adjournment.

“Mr Mitchell’s employment situation is such that he is required to isolate himself from the general public or risk serious financial or other sanctions,” he said.

“Those circumstances limit Mr Mitchell’s ability to personally appear in court or appear while in the same room as me via AVL, confer with me, and prepare for sentence.”

The matter has been adjourned to November.

Mr Addo-Carr is facing a charge of using an unauthorised firearm, also stemming from the camping trip.

In one of the videos posted on social media, he is depicted allegedly shooting at targets, with comments made about the accuracy of his shots.

Magistrate Greg Elks granted him extra time to seek legal advice and adjourned the matter until September.

Mr Elks said Mr Addo-Carr’s lawyers would have had “sufficient time I would have thought to be properly instructed … but in the circumstances I’m prepared to grant the adjournment until September 1”.

-ABC