The former president of the Hunter chapter of the Finks outlaw motorcycle gang has been released from jail after police found a gun and ammunition in his car in August 2017.
Tate Desmond Ward, 30, was given a 10 month suspended sentence in Maitland Local Court on Friday after police seized a .45 calibre self-loading pistol and 18 rounds of ammunition from the boot of a Suzuki Swift he was travelling in on August 12.
Ward pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm when subject to a prohibition order.
Police withdrew several other charges against him including possession of an unauthorised pistol, possession of ammunition without a licence, not keeping firearms safely, possession of an unregistered firearm and having custody of an offensive implement in a public place.
Magistrate John Chicken said in court on Friday there was no legitimate purpose for being in possession of a .45 calibre pistol, and highlighted the recent gang-related shootings in the Maitland area as an example of the danger of those sorts of weapons.
“Bullets are going through glass windows at Gillieston Heights, which is just a suburb,” he said.
“[The bikie feud] has spilled into the public arena, people are diving for cover.”
However, Magistrate Chicken said the incident was a lesson for Ward given the impact of his imprisonment on his family. He called on Mr Ward to make a choice between the outlaw motorcycle gang and family life.
Police from the Gang Squad’s Strike Force Raptor were near Ward’s Maitland residence on August 12 to ensure he was complying with bail conditions when they stopped him and another Finks member, Brent Oliver and searched the car the pair were travelling in.
Ward was charged and refused bail in Newcastle Local Court on August 13.
Mr Oliver was also arrested at the scene and charged with several weapon-related offences.
He was granted bail and appeared in Maitland Local Court on Friday, where his case was adjourned until Friday, June 1.