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Complaint of a serious nature; to the Police commissioner and the police complaints authority.
As a licensed firearms owner with no breaches of the firearms act or any charges pending, I would like to ask for the return of the firearms seized for safe keeping on the 17 of May 2013.
In the absence of good reason for my personal items to be detained, I will be forced to ask the courts for clarity over this situation.
On the evening of the 17 of May 2013, 2 Police officers arrived at my property under the excuse of checking the storage of my firearms.
I had received call only hours earlier threatening me in relation to my dealings with the RSPCA and to enjoy the retribution.
Both myself Mark M Aldridge, and my wife Helen M Aldridge are licensed for the firearms that we had in our possession.
The Fire arms were stored in the correct manner and the storage of my personal firearms had passed inspections on two previous occasions in 2009 and 2012.
The officers who entered my home under the guise of inspecting my firearms, by their actions appeared to have an ulterior motive; video coverage of the inspection is available.
The officers first inspected my firearms, which included 1 x antique unfired world war 2 rifle, 1 x antique 410 calibre shot gun, and an early 1900’s bolt action .22 calibre rifle (well used) these 3 firearms were stored ----------------------------------------------------- WITH IN THE LAW.
In the cellar they also inspected my target pistol of .22 calibre, which was in a steel safe bolted to the stone wall located ------------------------------- SAFELY.
During the conversation I made mention we had just installed another heavy steel safe concealed in another section of the home, which was to house the antique rifles, noting that my wife’s .22 calibre rifle was presently in that safe, and moves had been made to ensure when mine were deposited there that access to each other’s firearms would be restricted to comply with current legislation.
This safe was also shown to the officers, who then immediately moved to seize all our firearms, but refusing to explain why.
I was then forced to demand a receipt, and it became clear the visit was based around a political topic that related to the RSPCA, yet no explanation was offered.
I made enquiry’s with other police stations as to the officers’ conduct, in each case the offices with whom I spoke, made it clear that when items were seized it was usual practice to provide a reason, which my wife and I were not.
I made official complaints to both the commissioner of police and the police ombudsman immediately and also made enquiries to a member of parliament who took an affidavit from me.
The same officers returned after learning I was involved in the political arena, and demanded DNA samples, which have subsequently been supposedly destroyed as the officers did not adhere to the law in this respect. (Video footage available)
The officers at the time said the need for the DNA related to a suspect offence, when I asked what the suspect offence was, they replied “We could charge you with firearms storage issues” I made it clear that I had complied with the relevant legislation in relation to the storage of my fire arms, the officers reply was “They knew the charges would not carry any weight, and that they were only minions doing as they were told”.
I lodged official complaints both after the seizure of my firearms and indeed the bungled DNA issue, and met with another SAPOL officer as a result of my written complaint to the police commissioner and indeed a Member of Parliaments request for information on my behalf.
The officer met with me at the police station in Gawler, and explained that the initial visit was based on a complaint of a threat on my behalf to the RSPCA chief inspector, and that no charges were to be laid, the DNA would be destroyed and that the firearms would be returned. (Recording available)
At no tome had I interacted with nor threatened the RSPCA employee, other than email communications as spokesperson for an animal shelter that was interacting with the RSPCA, which were of a professional nature.
The chief inspector of the RSPCA has a personal issue with me for exposing his abuse of the Act of which he is empowered, at no stage had I spoken to nor threatened him in any way, and no charges have not been forth coming, as there would be no evidence what so ever to back such a vexatious claim.
On the 19 of June SAPOL again attended my property and returned my wife’s fire arm with the expectation she sign a document that she would take no further action against the department of the officers involved, my fire arms were not returned, and the officers in attendance again wanted to take my DNA, for which I refused. (Video footage available)
At no time was there reason of any form to seize my wife’s firearm, which is a tool of our native animal sanctuary and rescue.
As I had written to them on several occasions quoting the appropriate legislation, they then argued that because they “may” press charges for my firearms being stored in an inappropriate manner, my DNA needed to be taken.
Legal advice on this matter and my study of the relevant legislation makes it very clear that SAPOL have no right to demand my DNA, unless I am suspected of a serious offence, and even then section 15 of the forensic procedures act must be applied.
My firearms were indeed stored in an appropriate manner; the original seizure was based on false reports and therefore my firearms should be returned immediately and my costs covered for any applications, attendances, loss of enjoyment and time.
It is clear by the actions, words and transcripts of the interaction with SAPOL officers that there are no credible charges pending, and indeed no need to demand DNA samples under either the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act 2007 or the Firearms Act 1977.
If the initial seizure was based on the accusation of a breach of the Firearms Act, by way of the accusation of a threat, that has since been either dropped or unsubstantiated, then my firearms should be returned, if new charges relating to storage on said firearms are to be initiated then time ought to have been of essence.
I feel no charges being laid in the past 7 months, confirms none are to be laid.
The very fact no charges have been laid and none appear to be pending, the keeping of my personal property is an offence being committed by SAPOL.
The officers from firearms branch that initially seized our firearms (Senior Constable Kapka 79408 and Senior Constable Sheridan 4499) themselves confirmed that any charges would be tossed out of court that in itself confirms my position (recordings available).
I have written to the police firearms branch on several occasions without the courtesy of a written reply.
The police complaints authority like me believed this issue had been finalised several months ago, and that the return of property would be forth coming.
Since this all occurred, I have been subject to ongoing harassment and intimidation by SAPOL officers, even though at no time have any charges been laid.
I have missed out on my required shoots under the fire arms legislation, missed my competitions including the Christmas captains shoot for which I have held the trophy for many years. I have been arrested without due cause and detained without reason.
The warrant produced after my arrest was invalid at law, I was denied my basic rights during the botched arrest, my right to medication, my right to a phone call, to legal representation and was forced to endure other procedures that were not supported at law.
Upon leaving the police station with somewhat of an apology the media had also been notified and the impending reporting had an effect on my federal candidacy during the 2013 Federal election campaign.
Furthermore, when I made it clear I had video evidence of the criminal action of police over this period, crimes task force then visited my home and confiscated my personal computer and mobile phone, and the phone of a friend who recorded their attendance.
Again no charges were laid.
My computer holds most of the evidence backing this statement, and the video and audio files I will rely on to prove my case; I therefore demand their return, with a guarantee that no files have been copied or tampered with.
As a well-known federal candidate and internet blogger, I receive extensive complaints of a private nature, some of which relate to SAPOL conduct, these files should also remain private and so should the anonymity of the complainants.
If the police have reason to inspect any communications made in the past week on my computer relating to any present cases before the courts, I am sure they could achieve that in a timely manner, without the need to view personal files or emails from my electorate.
I would appreciate a timely reply to this letter, with information relating to the return of my firearms, my computer, my phone and my friends phone that was also confiscated.
What compensation I am being offered and also your assurance that the police attendance at my private residence will stop immediately, unless there is adequate reasons at law to attend, or of course to return the items taken from me.
Mark Marshall Aldridge