A Cork man has failed to overturn his conviction for shooting a young woman in the neck through the window of a house in the city four years ago. The Court of Appeal found no miscarriage of justice.
Gavin Sheehan (33), with an address at Laurel Ridge, Shanakiel, Cork had been sentenced to 14 years in prison for firing the handgun on May 15, 2016.
He had denied all charges, but was found guilty of possession of a firearm and ammunition, reckless discharge of a firearm and assault causing serious harm to Ciara Sheehan (no relation).
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin sentenced him on February 14, 2017 and suspended the final three years.
However, he appealed his conviction to the three-judge Court of Appeal last year, arguing that the case was based on circumstantial evidence, and that there was a lack of forensic evidence relating to the firearm.
His barrister, Patrick McGrath SC, said that the bullet could not be connected to the firearm, and that a bullet casing, which was recovered, was several houses away.
Mr McGrath also said there were discrepancies between the times recorded on CCTV tapes and a 999 call, and the times garda officers said that they arrived at the scene.
He said that an explanation for the discrepancies should have been offered at the trial.
He also argued that the trial judge had erred in refusing an application to allow the appellant’s legal team to come off record.
Lawyers for the DPP said that discrepancies in the evidence were issues for the jury to weigh and resolve, and that the forensic evidence had linked the bullet to the type of gun from which it was fired.
Justice John Edwards, presiding, with Justice Patrick McCarthy and Justice Isobel Kennedy delivered judgement.
While they said that there had been an error in relation to the trial judge’s refusal to permit the appellant’s lawyers to come off record, all other grounds were rejected.
“We are of the view that no miscarriage of justice has actually occurred,” they found. “We affirm the conviction and accordingly the appeal against conviction is dismissed.”