NSW Police: PM got it wrong, gunman never had licence

NEW South Wales police have refuted Prime Minister Tony Abbott's claim Martin Place gunman Man Haron Monis held a firearm licence.

"The NSW Police Force has conducted checks with the NSW Firearms Registry and can confirm there is no record of the 50-year-old man having held a firearms licence," police said in a statement last night.

Memorial at Martin Place from the air.
Memorial at Martin Place from the air.


A statement from Mr Abbott's office was issued shortly afterwards, saying Commonwealth security officials had told the Prime Minister Monis was legally allowed to own guns.

"The AFP Commissioner is investigating the origins of the entry on the National Police Reference System," the statement said.

"All matters relating to the perpetrator's access to firearms will be investigated as part of the review announced today."

Andrew Scipione visits Martin Place: NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione visits Martin Place, the scene of the siege that gripped the world's attention. Video: Chris Calcino APN Newsdesk

Prime Minister declares Sydney siege gunman had gun licence

MARTIN Place gunman Man Haron Monis held a valid firearm licence and was struck from Australian security watch lists in 2009.  

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ordered an urgent inquiry into how a man facing accessory to murder charge could legally obtain a gun, admitting yesterday he could not explain how Monis had "dropped off the watch list".  

It has also been revealed Monis was granted bail on October 10, despite being charged with 30 new sexual assault offences.  

A post to his website a week later stated the "false accusations" were an attempt by the Australian Government to "keep him silent" and bemoaned the fact his children had been removed from his care.  



Mr Abbott called for a review into why Monis was granted political refugee status, his interactions with the courts and - most importantly - why he was removed from security watch lists in 2009, and granted a gun permit.  

Man Monis, also known as Sheik Haron leaves the Downing Centre Local Court in central Sydney in 2010.
Man Monis, also known as Sheik Haron leaves the Downing Centre Local Court in central Sydney in 2010.

The inquiry will look at police and judicial operations to determine how Monis slipped through the cracks.  

"In the aftermath of the horrific Martin Place siege and following the tragic loss of innocent lives, we must learn what we can from this incident and implement any changes necessary at the state and federal level," he said.  

"The review will examine and make recommendations about a wide range of issues including the circumstances surrounding hostage-taker Man Haron Monis' arrival in Australia and subsequent granting of asylum and citizenship; what information agencies had about him and how it was shared; and whether relevant national security legislative powers could have been better used."  

Mr Abbott did not confirm nor deny the authenticity of a BBC interview with Iran's head of police, who said the country requested Monis's extradition on fraud charges 14 years ago but was turned down by Australian authorities.  

A full report is due by the end of January.