Man jailed for shooting at gardaí

A son of a former Sinn Féin election candidate who shot at three uniformed gardaí has been jailed for five years.

A son of a former Sinn Féin election candidate who shot at three uniformed gardaí has been jailed for five years.

Shane Shapland, Pineview Gardens, Moyross, Limerick, fired twice at a garda patrol car which was attending the scene of a crash in a Limerick housing estate two years ago.

The 22-year-old pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to possession a sawn off shot gun with intent to endanger life at Ballygrennan Close, Moyross, Limerick, on May 18, 2004.

He is the son of Jenny Shapland who unsuccessfully contested the Limerick East by-election in 1998 following the death of Labour TD Jim Kemmy.

Before imposing the five year jail sentence today, Judge Carroll Moran said shooting at members of the gardaí was "as serious an offence as you could come across".

Judge Moran said if a garda committed a crime it would be an agravating factor as it is "the essence of a police man's job to observe the law".

He added that it was also an agravating factor to commit an offence against a garda when he was in the course of carrying out his duties.

Judge Moran said the the fact that none of the three gardaí were injured in the shooting was "fortunate" but added that this could not "go far in exculpating the accused".

Before imposing the five year jail term, Judge Moran said he would have jailed Mr Shapland for 10 years, had he denied the charge and been convicted by a jury.

Previously, the court heard that Shane Shapland fired a shotgun twice at a garda patrol car which was called to the scene of a crash at Ballygrennan Close in Moyross.

The court heard that a man wearing a balaclava, who was later identified as Shane Shapland, stood pointing the sawn off shot gun at the patrol car as it drove away.

Evidence was given that the back of the vehicle was peppered with pellets and damage was caused to the rear bumper on the driver's side and to the petrol cap.

Counsel for the state John O'Sullivan, said Mr Shapland knew two of the gardaí in the patrol car.

Garda Andrew Riordan, he said, had been in the District Court six days before the shooting for a case where Mr Shapland was jailed for three months for possession of a knife.

In February of the same year, Garda John Flanagan, had found bullets during a search of Mr Shapland's bedroom, which led to a six month suspended sentence being handed down.

Counsel for the accused, David Goldberg (SC) said his client was extremely remorseful and wished to apologise to the gardaí and to the court for his behaviour.

Mr Goldberg said his client had been in the company of people on the night who were a bad influence on him, but he has since "severed" all links with these people.

He also told the court that Mr Shapland had been using drugs on the night in question and that his grandmother's death the day before the incident had an "adverse effect on him".

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