10 August 2023

Man allegedly found with stolen guns around his bed has bail refused

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts Photo: Michelle Kroll Region Media

Lee Tavake Pikula has been refused bail over an alleged stolen property offence. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man allegedly found to have stolen firearms around his bed and a damaged gun safe in his house has been refused bail over concerns he could interfere with the police investigation into the matter.

Lee Tavake Pikula, 37, was handed charges of receiving stolen property and unauthorised possession of firearms when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (9 August).

It is alleged that on Tuesday this week, a man returned to his home in Narrabundah to find someone had broken inside and stolen a gun safe that contained three rifles.

These rifles were a .223 calibre Tikka, a 7mm-08 calibre Howa and a .17 HMR calibre Sako.

Police raided Pikula’s home in Phillip that evening. He told them some people had come and gone from his residence that day, but did not elaborate.

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A gun safe matching the one that had been stolen was allegedly found during the search, but it was empty and appeared to have been opened with claw hammers.

It is also alleged the officers found the three stolen rifles, which had been placed on either side of the bed in the bedroom of Pikula and his partner.

Pikula was arrested and applied to be granted bail in court on Wednesday, but this was opposed by the prosecution.

His lawyer, Legal Aid’s Jeremy Banwell, said his client told police a number of people were coming and going from his home during the day so he argued it was possible others may have brought and left the allegedly stolen property at his house without his knowledge.

Mr Banwell also said his client’s mother often stayed with him at his home as she had emphysema and he was her main caregiver.

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Prosecutor Colin Balog noted Pikula had a conviction from 2019 for a charge of attempting to conceal or destroy evidence as he had agreed to get a shotgun hidden at a house after a fatal shooting.

Special Magistrate Rebecca Christensen said she was satisfied there was a concern over interfering with evidence as the matter was in its very early stages of investigation. She also noted his previous conviction.

Bail was refused and the matter was adjourned to 30 August.

Pikula blew a kiss to his supporters in the courtroom and said, “Love you Mum” before he was led away.

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