A movie buff who imported three model space guns based on the film Alien has found himself tied up in red tape when customs officers claimed they were prohibited weapons.
In the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal member Peta Stilgoe expressed understanding about collector Mark Hamish Beckett's frustration with bureaucracy but found she did not have the authority to rule on his case.
Ms Stilgoe was asked to settle the question QCAT hearing on the papers.
The tribunal heard Mr Beckett purchased three model space guns, replicated from the 1986 movie Aliens, and when two of the guns arrived in Queensland Australian Customs issued a seizure notice stating the guns were prohibited items.
Customs then notified Mr Beckett that to enable the release of the guns he needed "written confirmation in the form of a police permit from the Queensland police before the goods could be issued."
Mr Beckett made the application but Queensland police told him they believed the guns were category R weapons and he needed a permit to acquire.
Ms Stilgoe said Mr Beckett considered the guns to be artefacts, pieces of movie memorabilia, or perhaps novelty items but not weapons in any real sense of the word.
The police without the benefit of an inspection had classified them as weapons.
"When viewed from Mr Beckett's perspective, his frustration at the bureaucracy is understandable," Ms Stilgoe said.
However, she found the tribunal did not have jurisdiction to determine the matter.
She did indicate that, perhaps, police might like to inspect the weapons before any further action.
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