Hero navy veteran faces court after suicide attempt

THE hero navy veteran turned the gun on himself and pulled the trigger.

Miraculously, the gun misfired.

It was a sign for this former military man, that he is meant to be here, to continue the good work he has been doing for the past few years helping other veterans battle their mental demons.

Details of the man's harrowing ordeal were heard in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court last week, where the 50-year-old faced a weapon's-related offence stemming from his failed suicide attempt.

The veteran pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a weapon, having prohibited explosives, possessing a pipe and not reporting to police when required.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Andrew Blunt said officers were called to his address after reports of self-harm.

When police arrived, one round of a ten-round magazine had been discharged from a .383 calibre bolt action rifle located near the door.

The defendant was found hiding in a car on the property and told officers he "just wanted to die".

Defence lawyer Nick Larter confirmed his client had attempted suicide, but fate stepped in.

"The projectile discharged from the bullet, and that's the only reason he's here today," Mr Larter said.

"He has taken that misfiring as a sign that he's meant to be here."

Mr Larter said the veteran had battled PTSD since leaving the navy in 1990 and had been on a disability pension since.

The lawyer said his client was committed to helping other veterans with their mental health and two-and-a-half-years ago even co-founded a self-funded group to help others.

"He can travel up to 500km in any direction to help other veterans," Mr Larter said.

"Prior to his attempt on his life he had been helping someone else through suicidal thoughts for about three days, which led him to that attempt.

"He has now been seeing a psychologist, is attending to matters, and he now knows first hand the slippery slope that can follow."

Mr Larter said his client used the gun for animals on his property.

After the incident the defendant spent a week in the mental health unit, but a change to his medications resulted in a state of psychosis, which meant he was not able to report to police within an agreed timeframe.

Magistrate Belinda Merrin said the defendant's failure to report had been explained by the change of medications, which had since been corrected, and said his offending had only been detected by the attempt, "thankfully unsuccessfully", on his life.

"The circumstances of this offence... make it less serious," Ms Merrin said.

"It really is admirable you have created this volunteer service and that you support others mentally and financially.

Despite the defendant's significant drug history Ms Merrin placed him on a $600 recognisance with a six-month good behaviour bond. No conviction was recorded.

If you or someone you know is suffering with mental health phone LifeLine on 13 11 14.



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