Farmer shot his 'great pal' after drinking 'two pints of whiskey'
A farmer blasted his best friend with a double barrelled shotgun at close range after telling him he was a "tout for the gardaí", a court has heard.
Liam Flynn (53) has pleaded guilty to assault causing harm of his friend Noel Enright (41) at his farmhouse in Afflick, Tulla, Co Clare.
At Ennis Circuit Court, counsel for Mr Flynn said his client shot his "great pal" Mr Enright in the left upper thigh after he had drank "two pints of whiskey" on January 28, 2015.
The two church-going friends of 20 years used to meet up regularly and Mr Enright would stay at Mr Flynn's remote home near the village of Tulla at least once a week.
The pair would consume "volumes" of alcohol and watch their favourite TV show, 'Sons of Anarchy', a drama around a US gang of outlaw bikers.
The court heard the Garda witnesses in the case who arrived at the house after 2.15am on January 28, 2015, found a blood-soaked Mr Enright on the couch with blood and flesh splattered on the wall behind him.
The court heard that two days before the events on January 27-28, the two had gone to the cathedral in Ennis to be present at Bishop Kieran O'Reilly's last Mass in the diocese with Mr Enright's girlfriend, Taci.
In the case, the two men offered conflicting accounts of what occurred on the night. In his statement to gardaí, Mr Enright said: "I remember Liam saying to me 'do you know that girl Taci you are seeing? She is a spy."
He said: "At that I started roaring laughing and Liam jumped up and pulled out his gun and put his gun to shoulder level and said 'you are a f*****g tout for the gardaí' and bang! He shot me. I was sitting on the couch."
However, Mr Flynn told gardaí: "He is my best friend for years and it (the gun) just went off". Mr Flynn said the two had been playing with a toy gun and that Mr Enright said: "Why don't you bring up the real thing?"
He said: "I brought it up. I had it in my hands. I tapped him on the knee with the barrel. It just went off - it was a pure accident … I am a good man, gardaí. I did nothing wrong."
Garda Iomar McClearn agreed with Mr Flynn's counsel that both men's recollections were not reliable because of the level of alcohol consumed.
Mr Enright underwent a number of surgeries for the wound, where more than 100 pellets were found.
Gda McClearn said he had never come across such a case in his 22 years as a garda.
The court heard Mr Flynn has sold property to offer €20,000 in compensation to Mr Enright.
In his victim impact statement, Mr Enright, who was not in court, of Corebeg, Doora, Clarecastle, said he had been left with life-changing injuries.
He said: "Walking up the stairs and running and climbing are now difficult tasks. I have been a good skier for the past 20 years and look forward to the annual getaway to the Alps. It is tragic that those great days have been taken from me forever.
"On a day-to-day basis, I am constantly fearing another attack. This horrific event has not just left me physically scarred, it has left me mentally scarred."
Judge Keys adjourned the case to this Thursday to fix a date for sentence and remanded Mr Flynn on bail.