Man claims he could not appear at sentence hearing because he had been shot

A MAN due to be sentenced at Limerick Circuit Court yesterday for a heroin offence failed to turn up, claiming he had been shot and saved by a bullet-proof vest he was wearing.

Liam Kelly, 22, of Ard Na Luachra, Lower Park, Corbally, had at a previous hearing pleaded guilty to having heroin for sale or supply at Broad Street on May 15, 2009.

When his case was called yesterday a medical cert was handed in to Judge Carroll Moran, stating Kelly was unfit to attend.

State prosecutor, John O’Sullivan, BL, said he was not accepting the medical cert. He said gardaí had received a complaint in relation to an alleged incident involving Kelly and gardaí were anxious to interview him, but Kelly was not available.

Defence Counsel, Michael Collins BL, called Dr John Barry who said Liam Kelly was a patient at the clinic he worked at in Lower Gerald Griffin Street.

Dr Barry said Kelly attended the clinic at about 9.30am yesterday and told him he had been assaulted the previous night and had attended the A&E at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital. He was discharged from the hospital at 2am yesterday.

Kelly, he said, was looking for pain killers and told him he had been shot while wearing a bullet-proof vest. There were no obvious marks, but the patient had acute muscular spasms in the lower back which was very tender. He also had difficulty walking.

Dr Barry said he felt the patient was not fit to attend court that morning because of extreme pain.

Dr Barry prescribed anti- inflammatories and told the patient if the symptoms persisted to come back. Dr Barry said in his view the patient would be fit next week to attend court.

In cross-examination, Dr Barry said he found no direct evidence from his examination that the patient had been shot. When he examined Kelly he was not wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Det Garda Andrew Lacey said he called to Kelly’s address two times yesterday morning and there was nobody at the address.

Judge Carroll Moran refused an application by Mr O’Sullivan to issue a bench warrant for Kelly’s arrest and adjourned the matter to next Tuesday.


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