Man jailed for toy gun threat
A MAN who caused mass panic at the Bundaberg Hospital with a gun-shaped cigarette lighter was sent to jail after pleading guilty in the city's Magistrates court yesterday.
Brenton Adrian Hodgson, 41, of Boundary Street, sent the hospital into lockdown when he visited the emergency department with the lighter holstered and stuffed into the waistband of his shorts.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens said Hodgson went to the emergency department just after 4pm on New Year's Eve to receive rabies medication he was taking after being bitten by a bat.
He then became “belligerent and aggressive” after staff told him the medication was not there yet.
“It is a very realistic replica weapon,” Sgt Stevens said.
“It was located in the defendant's shorts in a holster and he was wearing the gun in such a way that it could be mistaken for a real gun.”
Sgt Stevens said hospital staff had called triple-0 after seeing the gun.
“Apart from a bank, I can't think of a more frightening place to take a hand gun,” he said.
Defence lawyer Geoffrey Ebert said Hodgson suffered from Asperger's and lacked social awareness and boundaries.
“It's embarrassing that it's caused a lockdown at the hospital,” he said.
“It's really a series of unfortunate events.”
Mr Ebert said Hodgson had a loud voice and became concerned when he was told his medication was not there, despite ringing earlier to see if it had arrived.
“After talking to staff he went outside to have a cigarette because he had to wait and that was when police arrived and pushed his head down on to the car,” Mr Ebert said.
Magistrate Neil Lavaring sentenced Hodgson to one month in prison with a parole release date in just over two weeks for carrying an exposed weapon in a public place.
“You were acting in a threatening way because your medication was not there,” he said.
“In a hospital environment it puts people in fear.”
Hodgson also pleaded guilty to obstructing police in an unrelated incident and two breaches of his bail conditions.
For these he was fined a total of $600.