Man bailed on firearms charges

Raid: A court has heard four stolen guns and drugs were allegedly found during a police surveillance operation. Photo by Megan Fisher

Four stolen guns were allegedly found inside a stolen car during a police surveillance operation in March 2019, a court has heard.

Samuel Vipond, 36, successfully applied for bail in Shepparton Magistrates’ Court.

He is charged with possessing a traffickable quantity of unregistered firearms, possessing an unregistered category E handgun, three counts of possessing an unregistered category A or B longarm gun, possessing cartridge ammunition while unlicensed, possessing/carrying/using a silencer or prescribed item without a permit, possessing a firearm without a serial number and carrying a loaded firearm.

Mr Vipond is also charged with trafficking a commercial quantity of methamphetamines, theft of a vehicle, two counts of dealing with property suspected to be the proceeds of crime, retaining stolen goods, possessing a drug without a prescription, and theft.

Yarra Ranges Crime Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Danielle Fleming told the court Mr Vipond had $8180 of cash and 168g of what was believed to be methamphetamines in a satchel he was carrying as he tried to escape over a back fence when police swooped on a Shepparton home on March 29, 2019.

When police searched a stolen Suzuki Swift Mr Vipond had been driving that day, they found four loaded guns and ammunition, as well as a cut-off rifle stock and a number of sets of stolen car keys, Det Sen Constable Fleming said.

The court heard one of the shotguns found was heavily modified, and an attempt had been made to remove the serial numbers on all the guns that had been stolen.

The court was also told Mr Vipond was on parole in NSW at the time of the alleged offences.

Mr Vipond’s solicitor Nicholas Rolfe argued his client could spend more time in custody than he might be sentenced to due to delays in the justice system and that he had the support of his mother and could be bailed to her Melbourne home.

Magistrate David Faram bailed Mr Vipond, citing the delays in the matter going to trial.

“There’s not a likely prospect of it proceeding to trial for two years,” Mr Faram said.

His bail conditions include that he live with his mother in Melbourne, abide by a 9pm to 7am curfew, not take drugs, comply with requirements of the Court Integrated Services Program, not contact prosecution witnesses, give police his mobile phone number and pin, not leave Victoria or Australia and report to police three times a week.