NRL star Josh Addo-Carr has avoided a conviction being recorded after admitting to the unauthorised use of a firearm during a camping trip to the New South Wales Mid North Coast almost a year ago.
He has been sentenced to a 12-month conditional release order.
In sentencing at Taree Local Court, Magistrate Allison Hawkins accepted Addo-Carr did not know his actions were illegal, saying he “wouldn’t have posted on Instagram if [he] had.”
Addo-Carr was also sentenced to a 12 month conditional release order with no conviction recorded for a charge of not complying with a noticed direction in regards to COVID-19.
Outside the court, his lawyer Elias Tabchouri said the sentence was “appropriate”.
“We’re very happy with the outcome. It’s the appropriate outcome,” he said.
“His actions, he’s been very apologetic for them, and it’s time to move on with his life.”
Coronavirus camping trip leads to charges
The 25-year-old was one of a group of men who visited South Sydney player and co-accused Latrell Mitchell’s property at Caffreys Flat, north-west of Taree, in late April.
Footage of him firing Mitchell’s shotgun at empty bottles was posted to social media.
According to police facts, Addo-Carr is “not currently the holder of a NSW firearms licence, and is not generally permitted to possess or use a firearm.”
The court was played the vision of Addo-Carr firing the shotgun before Mr Tabchouri told the court the gun was handled in a safe manner “at all times” and his client did not realise he was breaking the law.
He also said his client had good intentions in going on the camping trip, as he was hoping to provide support to a relative who was having some problems.
He pointed to an apology video posted to social media to highlight Addo-Carr’s “immediate” remorse for his actions
“He clearly made a mistake, and he accepts he made a mistake,” he said.
He argued for parity with Mitchell’s sentence and said a conviction would be “overly harsh”, arguing as the firearm owner and holder of a licence Mitchell’s degree of responsibility was higher than his clients.
In handing down her sentence, Magistrate Hawkins said there would be “an unjustifiable sense of grievance would if [Josh Addo-Carr] were to receive a penalty exceeding [Latrell Mitchell]’s,” given he was the licensed holder of the firearm.
She also said the decision to go on a camping trip during the height of coronavirus travel restrictions “could have been perceived by some as insulting.”
“It was, in fact, the wrong thing to do to have such an adventure.”