Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a five-year jail sentence on Charles O’Callaghan of Killavoy, Banteer, Co Cork, and suspended the last three years of the sentence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Dermot Sheehan, defence barrister, said the accused who was remanded in custody earlier in the week for sentencing yesterday found the few days extremely hard in jail and felt that every day was like a year.
O’Callaghan pleaded guilty to charges of assault causing harm to customer Mark Kelly, one of threatening to kill Mr Kelly and two counts related to the air rifle at The White County Inn, Banteer, Co Cork, on the August bank holiday weekend last year.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “The elaborate aggravating factors are that he had been in the premises previously and he had a stun-gun that time . On this occasion he went away and obtained this air rifle and had it under his coat and took it out and shot this person he believed was talking about him or laughing at him.
“Mr O’Callaghan has in him the ability to go and shoot somebody. He has mental health difficulties of long standing dealt with by care in the community which was completely inadequate to control him. That is a worrying aspect.
“He was abusing drink and other substances. Clearly control did not work,
“But there has been an improvement and he now more amenable to treatment. He has done a lot better in the Det Garda Padraig Reddington described at Cork Circuit Court the incident occurred at the August bank holiday weekend last year when the injured party Mark Kelly was at a barbeque for customers in the car park outside The White County Inn, Banteer.”
About 30 people were in the car park having drinks when the defendant arrived. There was some history between the defendant and the injured party who had been friends, had a falling out and then the defendant apologised and they made up.
On this evening the defendant greeted the injured party and felt that the injured party did not respond.
“He returned at 9pm wearing a large hood over his head. He had an air rifle under his raincoat. Part of the stock of the rifle had been cut off. He discharged it in the back of his [Mr Kelly’s] head. A pellet struck him causing injury at point of impact. He has since recovered.
“There was a struggle with members of the public who disarmed him. He said he was not out to kill him but to give him a fright to scare him off. He was of the view that people in the car park were talking about him, particularly the injured party,” said Det Garda Reddington.
The accused was previously convicted for carrying a stun gun in the same premises in 2009.
The injured party, Mark Kelly, was a customer at the premises on the night and not a publican as incorrectly stated in a previous report.