A Judge said no purpose would be served in a 49 year-old father of three serving a custodial sentence who discharged a shotgun at a house in a local estate in the early hours of the morning.
Dundalk Circuit Court heard that Gary McAreavey of Gort Nua, Station Road , Castlebellingham fired three shots from the shotgun causing damage to the house and grazed the side of the head of another man. He pleaded guilty to the reckless discharge of the firearm on October 18th 2009.
It was stated there was street disturbances and the accused received a message that his wife had been killed.
Judge Leonie Reynolds was told that accused voluntarily attended the Garda Station and explained that he fired once or twice in the air . He didn’t wish to hurt anybody. The accused had the gun for hunting and surrendered it and a licence he held and hadn’t drunk since.
Judge Reynolds heard also that relations were good with the injured parties and that the accused stopped drinking and except for public order offences for which he received the probation act in 2006 hadn’t come to the attention of the Gardai.
She said it was an appropriate case for community service, noting from references the accused was a valued member of his community and praised for his voluntary work. She adjourned for an assessment report on the accused to April 23rd to see was he suitable to do 100 hours in lieu of two years in custody. She remanded the accused on existing terms and conditions.
Sergeant John Cannon said that the incident took place in the early hours of the morning at Grange Close, Muirhevnamor. There were street disturbances nearby involving 40 to 50 people with individuals assaulting each other.
He attended the scene with six other Gardai and had to wait for re-inforcements to arrive.
A local man saw the accused come to the front of his house and a shot was let off and broke a window. The man thought one of the pellets hit him on the head.
His wife also witnessed the accused approach with a long barrel gun, and heard three shots being discharged. This was confirmed by a forensic examination of the scene.
The accused was identified and went to the station afterwards and explained that he was in fear of his life.
The Sergeant said the injured party was shaken but seemed to have recovered well. Barrister Grainne O’Neill said the accused no longer had the shotgun and surrendered it and his licence. The accused was at a birthday party which he left before the disturbance kicked off.
Without the accused’s co-operation and admission it would have been difficult to bring charges against him.
He worked as a scaffolder for 15 years but was the victim of an assault and due to the nature of the injury he suffered went on disability. He suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. He had the prospect of a job, the court was told. Judge Reynolds adjourned the case until April 23 pending a report to see if the defendent was suitable for community service.