Man found guilty of Cork city shooting appeals 14-year sentence

Man found guilty of Cork city shooting appeals 14-year sentence
Gavin Sheehan of Laurel Ridge, Shanakiel, Cork.

A MAN who fired a handgun through the window of a house in Cork city, hitting a young woman in the neck, has moved to appeal his 14-year sentence.

Gavin Sheehan, aged 31, with an address at Laurel Ridge, Shanakiel, Cork city, was found guilty of the possession of a firearm and ammunition, reckless discharge of a firearm and assault causing serious harm to Ciara Sheehan, to whom he is not related, on May 15, 2016. He has denied the charge.

Ciara Sheehan was injured in the incident.
Ciara Sheehan was injured in the incident.

Sheehan was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with the final three years suspended by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin on February 14, 2017.

Patrick McGrath SC, for Sheehan, told the Court of Appeal that the case was based on circumstantial evidence, and that there was a lack of forensic evidence relating to the firearm in the case.

He said that the bullet could not be connected to the firearm by ballistics evidence, and a bullet casing which was recovered was not in the immediate vicinity but in a garden several houses away from the scene of the shooting.

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. 

In addition, he submitted that some of the video evidence in the case was of very poor quality.

Mr Justice John Edwards asked if the trial judge was right to let the jury decide, in the context of all the evidence, which clocks were correct.

Mr McGrath said this was a case where it went too far, and an explanation for the discrepancies should have been offered at the trial.

Lawyers for the DPP said that discrepancies in the evidence were issues for the jury to weigh and resolve. 

The forensic evidence could not link the bullet to the gun “alone”, the legal team argued, but it did link it to the type of gun it was fired from. 

Some video evidence was of poorer quality than others, but counsel told the three-judge court it was for the jury to consider all the evidence in context.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Edwards said the court would reserve its judgement.

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