AN ARMED man arrested under dramatic circumstances in suburban Ipswich earlier this year has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Police surrounded Barry John Rea, 35, as he attempted to drive away from a disturbance at a residence in Berrigan St, Redbank Plains on June 2.
Local residents looked on in shock as about 14 officers, some wearing bulletproof vests, descended on Rea's black Mazda sedan in nearby Cedar Rd, pointing their pistols at the suspect.
A subsequent search of Rea's vehicle confirmed police fears that he had been carrying a gun when he arrived in Redbank Plains about 2.30pm that afternoon.
Rea appeared via video link at Ipswich Magistrates Court on Wednesday, where his defence lawyer, Ann-Maree Russo, entered pleas of guilty to charges including two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon, possessing explosives, possessing dangerous drugs, possessing tainted property and failure to dispose of syringes.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Brad Dick told the court that during the search of Rea's vehicle, police found a bolt-action sawn-off .22 rifle with nine rounds of ammunition, as well as a small amount of crystal methamphetamine.
Snr Const Dick said there was also a gun silencer concealed under the front passenger seat, with another bag containing several used syringes and some more crystal meth.
Six mobile phones and an iPod were found in the car's centre console.
While not offering a full explanation as to why her client had chosen to arm himself that day, Ms Russo did suggest that the scene which unfolded in Redbank Plains was not as dramatic as it may have appeared.
"He was visiting friends on the day," Ms Russo said.
"There was an argument between Mr Rea and the tenants at this house and one of them called police, knowing he was wanted over a dirty urine sample."
However, Magistrate Michael Quinn said it was clear from the evidence found in the car that "something very serious was afoot" on the day in question.
Mr Quinn imposed concurrent jail sentences totalling 18 months, with a parole release date set at January 15, 2012.