Longford District Court: Teen appears over suspected shooting

Further charges relating to other individuals not ruled out

Longford Leader

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Man thanks judge at a Donegal court for jailing him in the past

A teenager appeared at a sitting of Longford District Court last week charged in connection to an alleged shooting incident in Athlone just over a week ago.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was brought before Judge Seamus Hughes where details in relation to three charges stemming from the alleged incident were heard.

They included the unauthorised use of a pump action rifle, the reckless discharge of a firearm and the handling of stolen property at Bower Hill, Athlone, Westmeath on November 18 2017.

A man in his 20s allegedly sustained a wound to his leg as a result which later culminated in him receiving treatment at Tullamore’s Midland Regional Hospital.

Garda Kieran Dempsey said the teenager made no reply to each of the alleged offences when charging him in the presence of his mother shortly after 10pm the previous evening.

He said the firearm had been allegedly taken from the boot of a parked car along with a quantity of ammunition.

It was also revealed that the firearm in question was being used by a contractor from the Department of Agriculture.

Garda Dempsey said that while the rifle wasn’t openly displayed as it was in the boot of a parked vehicle, enquiries were ongoing as why it was in the car at the time of the incident.

Garda Dempsey said 'a number of shots' were later fired in the Convent Grounds of Athlone soon after which resulted in one person sustaining an injury.

He added that four other vehicles were broken into on the same night.

In his attempts to shed further light on the circumstances behind the incident Judge Hughes asked if the injury sustained by the victim was brought about by 'playacting'.

Garda Dempsey said it was still too early to speculate on whether, as he termed it ‘stupiditity’ or ‘intention’ had been at play.

He also added that further charges could be brought before the court at a later juncture in relation to other individuals.

Defence solicitor Padraig Quinn insisted his client was not being accused of the theft of the rifle and was in fact facing handling stolen property charges.

He added his client had been in custody since Saturday night and had been interviewed several times in the interim.

Mr Quinn was also keen to point out that the teenager was not being suspected as having fired the shot which caused the victim’s injury.

Gardai made no objection to bail, though conditions were attached including a submission of an independent €2,000 surety, that the accused sign on at Athlone Garda Station three times weekly, observe a 9pm-6am curfew, supply a mobile number to Garda and to refrain from interfering or contacting any witnesses connected to the case.

He is due to appear back in court on February 7 2018.