Fake security guard spared jail on appeal

The court heard Purves had let his security guard and handgun licence lapse in March 2015 and then falsified both documents so that he could apply for jobs at two different companies.

According to a summary read in court, Purves changed the end of the expiry year from a five to an eight on a photocopy of both licences to dupe Protectcorp Security and Executive Security Solutions into hiring him as a guard.

Documents seized by police showed Purves worked 62 shifts for Protectcorp between November 2016 and February 2017, including on January 25 when he was spotted in Bourke Street Mall with a handgun strapped to his right thigh.

Aaron Purves in the Mall days after a car ploughed into pedestrians.

Aaron Purves in the Mall days after a car ploughed into pedestrians.

Photo: The Age

The breach came to police attention when photos of Purves walking in Bourke Street were published by The Age. The court heard Purves was in the Mall during a secruity shift.

Judge Michael Tinney said it looked as if Purves was "going to war" when he was photographed wearing a tactical vest, black shirt and cargo pants in Bourke Street five days after Dimitrious Gargasoulas allegedly hit dozens of pedestrians with his car leaving six people dead.

In reducing the sentence, Judge Tinney said it was a "remarkably stupid and foolish thing to do", however he said that Purves did not deserve to be jailed for the crime.

Judge Tinney said that a clean criminal record, support from his parents and an early guilty plea were all factors in Purves' favour.

Both Purves' defence counsel, Michael Kuzilny, and lawyer for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Leon Fluxman, had argued that a sentence with no jail time was appropriate.

Prison was a last resort, Judge Tinney said, adding "I don't believe that last resort is reached here".

"They're serious offences, make no mistake about it. You were not licensed to carry a handgun, you were carrying one.

You were not licensed to act as a security guard and you were acting as one," Judge Tinney said.

However he added: "I want to make it very plain that there's not the slightest hint of anything further untoward."

"You were doing what you were doing to be employed in this industry.

It was wrong, obviously wrong," he said.

"But you were doing it not to commit any sort of any evil in the community, not to menace, not to have some dreadful purpose connected to these firearms.

"You were doing it because you wanted to be employed and this was the easiest route back into it."

Small amounts of testosterone and Xanax and were also seized from Purves' house, which the court ordered be destroyed.

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Tom Cowie

Tom Cowie is a journalist at The Age covering general news.

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