Not guilty verdict in firearms trial

A Limerick man who fired a shotgun to protect his family from a group who had been out celebrating St Patrick’s Day was yesterday found not guilty of the illegal discharge of a firearm and causing criminal damage to a car owned by the people he felt under threat from.

Not guilty verdict in firearms trial

Gerard Walsh, aged 58, of The Paddocks, Westbury, Corbally, had pleaded not guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to the reckless discharge of a shotgun and causing criminal damage to a car, which was hit by pellets.

The trial heard that Brendan Wallace, his wife and son chased another man, Thomas McNamara who took refuge in Mr Walsh’s house following an earlier incident in which Mr Wallace was slashed across the face with a screwdriver.

Mr Walsh said he thought his home and family were under threat when the Wallaces stormed in.

In the porch of the house, the Wallaces carried out a sustained attack on the man they chased.

Mr Walsh thought this man was a son of his.

Pellets from the accused’s gun hit the Wallaces’ car as it drove away from the Walsh house.

Yvonne Quinn, defending, said the accused and his family were traumatised by the Wallaces charging into their house at night when they were watching TV.

The accused was put in an appalling position in trying to prevent the violation of his home. She said: “He did what he did to protect his family.”

John O’Sullivan, prosecuting, said the law allows a person to defend themselves, their property and family and this was a well recognised right.

But in this case, Mr O’Sullivan said the State claimed the Wallaces were retreating from the house, when the accused discharged the gun. It was the prosecution case, he said, this was not reasonable force and Walsh was ‘over the top’ in firing the gun.

After 30 minutes, the jury returned not guilty verdicts.

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