An unemployed Auckland man who purchased $50,000 worth of
firearms then passed them to gang members and other criminals
has been jailed for nearly six years.
Peter James Edwards purchased 72 rifles and shotguns in just
18 months, then modified the weapons by cutting down the
barrel or stock and adding pistol grips and silencers.
The pistol-sized firearms, which are easily carried and
concealed, are highly prized in the criminal fraternity and
the case has highlighted how easily guns can fall into the
Edwards, 58, was today sentenced in the Auckland District
Court after earlier pleading guilty to supplying firearms to
unlicensed individuals, supplying a pistol and supplying
The gravity of his offending was "extremely high", Judge
Nevin Dawson said.
"A large number of seriously dangerous weapons were supplied
to Head Hunters gang members by you and they would have had
them for devious purposes," he said.
"The extent of harm from your offending is hard to assess but
the risk to the community is very high."
Edwards had sold methamphetamine to his daughter, starting on
her 19th birthday, something Judge Dawson described as
"thoroughly scurrilous behaviour" and an "abuse of trust".
"Your excuse that you were helping her is simply outrageous."
Edwards' offending was at the high end of the scale, Judge
Dawson said, only giving a minimum reduction for an early
guilty plea and calling his remorse "presentence-induced".
He sentenced Edwards to a total of five years and 10 months
His lawyer Graeme Newell said there had been a "limited
degree of commerciality" in relation to the meth supply
charge and his client had no relevant criminal history in New
He also argued his client had recently gone through a knee
replacement and a prison sentence could add "further
Edwards has 53 previous convictions in Western Australia.
Critics say firearm record-keeping in New Zealand is poor
after the system of licensing each firearm was abandoned in
1982 in favour of registering gun owners instead.
The result is that the police have no idea how many guns --
legal or illegal -- there are in the country or how many
stolen or modified guns are in circulation.
Edwards held an A-category firearms licence and bought 67
firearms from Gun City stores in Auckland and Christchurch
between May 2012 and last December.
He spent $50,000 on firearms alone but also bought 16,000
rounds of ammunition, pistol grips, folding stocks and
He modified the firearms in his shed, often removing the
serial numbers, then sold them to criminals including patched
members of the Head Hunters who are not able to legally
- Patrice Dougan of APNZ/additional reporting Jared Savage
of the New Zealand Herald