By HARRY CLARKE
SINCE the age of 14, Wayne McLennan’s pocket knife has barely left his hip, and until the age of 74 the trusty farming tool never got him into any trouble.
But because of the pocket knife, Mr McLennan was recently charged by Chinchilla police and fined for the crime of carrying a dangerous weapon in public.
Mr McLennan, who’s known far and wide by the nickname “Cowboy”, was leaving a local pub in his ute after a few beers last month when he was pulled over by police.
He recorded a blood-alcohol reading that was marginally above the legal limit but his second breath test, back at the Chinchilla Police Station, was under the limit.
He’d therefor committed no drink driving offence, but he was charged and issued a notice to appear in court over the pocket knife, which was inside its leather pouch and attached to his waist belt.
“I was dumbfounded,” Mr McLennan said.
“I said to the copper, “you go into the supermarket or walk down the street and you’ll be booking a lot of people for carrying a pocket knife.”
“When I went to court I was waiting outside and even the prosecutor fella said “haven’t they got anything better to do?”.
Mr McLennan, an aged pensioner, pleaded guilty in the Chinchilla Magistrates Court and was fined $100.
A retired farmer, “Cowboy” has travelled all over the country on the rodeo and campdraft circuit.
He flicks the blade out whenever he has to cut some baling twine, castrate calves or carry out whatever other menial task might arise for a typical bushie.
He admitted to having a minor criminal history, but said he believed he was unfairly targeted by local police.
“They don’t like me from way back,” he said.
“I’ve been to court two or three times in the past. I was even wearing me pocket knife then and it didn’t cause me any trouble.”
Police confirmed to the Caller that under the Weapons Act 1990, it’s prohibited for a person to carry a knife in a public place without a reasonable excuse.
Mr McLennan’s conduct was illegal because at the time he was not performing work in primary production (farming).