Firearm residue backs claim accused shot man, court hears

Firearm residue taken from the face, hands, and clothing of a man accused of a gun attack in Limerick strongly supported the suggestion that he was the person involved, a court heard.

Ian Horgan, aged 30, with an address at Lenihan Avenue, Prospect, Limerick, denies having a shotgun with intent to endanger life at Byrne Avenue, Prospect, on December 12, 2013.

Limerick Circuit Court has been told that Seán Finnan, then aged 26, was shot and wounded when he went to the front door of his house to smoke a cigarette.

Medical evidence was given that Mr Finnan was hit by 23 shotgun pellets.

His then partner, Leanne Casey, gave evidence of going to join Mr Finnan to get a ‘pull’ from his cigarette when she saw two men approach the house.

One produced a shotgun and fired. As the gunman fired a second time, a scarf covering his face came down and she could see it was the accused, Ian Horgan.

Some pellets hit a seat in a sitting room where she had placed their four-week-old baby.

Dr Tom Hannigan — a forensic scientist at the State laboratory — told the third day of the trial yesterday that gardaí had sent him a hooded cardigan belonging to the accused along with a firearm residue kit which contained minute metalic particles recovered from his hands and face.

Such particles are dispersed when a gun is discharged.

He also received Mr Finnan’s bloodstained T-shirt. Dr Hannigan said firearm reside on the skin would last about four hours and up to 20 hours on clothing.

He found firearm residue on the cardigan, on the skin samples taken from Mr Horgan, and also on Mr Finnan’s T-shirt. The particles from Mr Horgan’s skin and cardigan were similar to the samples found on Mr Finnan’s T-shirt.

Dr Hannigan concluded that his findings provided strong support for the suggestion that Ian Horgan — rather than somebody else — was the man who shot Mr Finnan.

Cross-examined by Brian McInerney, for the defence, he agreed if a person had cleaned a gun after it was recently fired, residue could also transfer.

The trial continues before Judge Tom O’Donnell and a jury.


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