The supervisor of the New South Wales public servants who granted John Edwards a gun licence has advised a courtroom she most likely would have executed the identical factor primarily based on the knowledge out there on the time.
Edwards, a 67-year-old pensioner with a propensity for home violence, shot lifeless his estranged teenage kids, Jack and Jennifer Edwards, earlier than taking his personal life in Sydney in July 2018.
The inquest into the deaths has heard NSW Firearms Registry employees granted Edwards a gun licence in June 2017 with out trying into current entries on his most important police profile.
Fifteen of the 18 entries on his most important police profile, as of June 2017, associated to both apprehended violence orders, stalking allegations, assault allegations or opposed interactions in relationships. The newest prices had been laid in 1998.
The supervisor, who can’t be named, advised the inquest on Wednesday it was apparent in hindsight that the employees may have positioned extra weight on the incidents.
“However primarily based on the knowledge at the moment – and issues have modified since then – I most likely would have granted him a licence as properly,” the registry veteran, who has virtually 20 years of expertise, stated.
The supervisor stated she, and people working beneath her, believed in 2017 they need to solely refuse licences in the event that they discovered a “necessary” purpose outlined in laws, such because the applicant being topic to a closing AVO previously decade.
In reality, the laws says a licence can’t be granted until the decision-maker is glad the applicant is “a match and correct particular person” and may be trusted to own firearms with out endangering public security.
“Again in 2017, clearly our reasoning had some flaws in it,” the supervisor advised the NSW coroners courtroom.
The inquest has heard the registry – overseeing the state’s 230,000 gun homeowners and a million firearms – didn’t have formal coaching procedures and relied on new employees studying over the shoulder of longer-term clerks.
The clerk adjudicating on Edwards’ pistol licence advised police in August 2018 she had been dealing with 80 to 100 purposes a day. “Do you agree that … as a result of nothing is written down, you actually do not know about how individuals are being educated to do their job?” the counsel aiding, Kate Richardson SC, requested.
“Sure,” the supervisor replied. She agreed a four-line coverage may have clarified that employees wanted to totally test candidates’ police profiles however she didn’t suppose it was obligatory.
“A few of them, they’d been right here for 15 years at the moment and I assumed they had been skilled,” the supervisor stated.
She stated the adjudication course of had modified “dramatically” because the deaths in 2018 with totally new tips and a brand new decision-making device that targeted on figuring out threat and employees being accountable.
Purposes involving false or deceptive statements or a historical past of home violence are escalated to “senior adjudicators”, the supervisor stated.
The registry additionally now makes use of the more-user-friendly WebCops interface to entry the police database and its routinely generated report of related occasions on candidates’ police profiles now targets extra info.
Supt Anthony Bell, who took over as Firearms Registry commander in September 2018, is predicted to face the inquest on Thursday.