Former Finks bikie gang member Mark
Sandery, father of child who was shot in Semaphore,
outside the Adelaide Magistrates Court in 2011.
FORMER Finks bikie Mark Sandery will
be released from prison in three months regardless of the
outcome of an appeal against his conviction for possessing a
high-powered assault rifle.
Sandery, 42, was convicted of possessing an
SKS semi-automatic rifle and 700 rounds of ammunition at his
former Semaphore home, despite a judge's ruling that there was
"reasonable doubt" he knew about the weapon.
District Court judge Sydney Tilmouth today
sentenced Sandery to 14 months prison for possessing the weapon
and ammunition while under a court order not to possess
Judge Tilmouth found Sandery guilty because of
a quirk in South Australian firearms laws which reverses the
traditional onus of proof, requiring a defendant to prove they
were not aware of the presence of a weapon.
Sandery's lawyers argued their client had no
knowledge of the gun and was living in a safe house in Melbourne
after his 11-year-old son had been shot in the leg by intruders
at the Semaphore house two months earlier.
Judge Tilmouth said Sandery had failed to
prove, on balance, he did not have control of the property
because he had been there two days before the raid. The judge
found the former bikie's evidence was "unsatisfactory in many
The court today heard Sandery had engaged top
Adelaide silk David Edwardson QC to appeal against his
conviction in the Supreme Court.
Judge Tilmouth said he would sentence Sandery
on the basis that he had no knowledge of the weapon, which the
court heard had another man's DNA but not Sandery's.
"You are to be sentenced on the basis that you
did not have direct knowledge of the firearm and therefore that
it was not a deliberate offence," he said.
With time already served, Sandery will be
released from prison on August 20.
Sandery, who was once convicted over the
infamous 1996 Yatala prison riots, breathed a sigh of relief and
gave two thumbs-up to supporters as he left the dock.
He was repeatedly refused bail awaiting trial
on the firearms charges after judges ruled he was a risk because
of comments to news crews threatening retribution against the
men who shot his son.
One man has been charged over that incident
and is awaiting trial in the District Court.