Man who shot teen in the back jailed for eight years
A man who was 16 when he shot a teen in the back resulting in the victim losing his kidney has been jailed for eight years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
John Devoy, now aged 23, claimed that the gun had accidentally fired when he dropped it, twice hitting Nathan Daly who was then also 16. Mr Daly’s spleen was also damaged as a result of his injuries and he was left with pellets in his lung.
The case had previously been adjourned to allow for a second hearing into whether the shooting was accidental or incidental.
Today, Colm O’Briain BL, prosecuting, told the court that eyewitnesses told gardaí they heard two shots discharged.
Garda Adrian Dardis of the Ballistic Section of the Garda Technical Bureau told Mr O’Briain that he examined the shotgun used by Devoy and concluded that the safety was working properly.
He said the only way the weapon could have accidentally fired is if the breach of it was struck with a firm object or the gun was upside down when it was dropped.
Gda Dardis said in this case only one shot could be discharged.
He agreed with Gerry O’Brien SC, defending, that if the gun had bounced twice when it hit the ground two shots could have been discharged.
Judge Martin Nolan asked Mr O’Brien if his client was still claiming that the gun went off accidentally when he dropped it. Counsel confirmed that they were still his instructions.
Devoy of no fixed abode pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing serious harm and possession of a sawn-off shotgun at St Cronin’s Close, Swords on February 10, 2007. He has 13 previous convictions.
Garda Lisa Clarke told Mr O’Briain in the previous hearing that Devoy fled to Birmingham with his family after the shooting. He lived there under the radar until he was arrested by UK police for theft before being extradited back to Ireland.
The court heard that the shooting was a case of “mistaken identity”.
Shortly beforehand Devoy’s motorbike had been vandalised in an attempt to steal it.
Devoy and his father John Devoy Senior decided to seek revenge. They went to a park to retrieve a double barrel shotgun which had been stashed there earlier by Devoy Snr and were sitting on some bollards when they saw Mr Daly walk past with his friends.
They mistakenly thought the person who damaged his motorcycle was among the group.
Several of the teens reported seeing Devoy raise the gun before they turned to flee. Mr Daly was shot as he ran away and collapsed nearby.
Both the father and son were later arrested. Devoy Jnr said he just had the gun to scare the person who had damaged the bike. He claimed he was holding it under his top with the safety catch engaged when he dropped it, causing it to fire.
Devoy Snr concurred with this version of events. The court heard he has since died of a heart condition while on the run in the UK.
Mr O’Brien submitted that Judge Nolan must give his client the “benefit of the doubt” and accept his version of events.
Counsel said Devoy and both of his parents were heroin addicts at the time.
He added that he now has a partner and two children in England and is remorseful for his actions.
Judge Nolan said in accessing the evidence he had to decide “where the truth lies”.
He said he found Devoy’s explanation “totally unbelievable” and was satisfied that the State had proved that he intentionally fired the gun that day.
Judge Nolan accepted that a dispute had arisen after Devoy’s “prized motorbike” was damaged and that he and his father had a suspect in mind.
He said the injuries to Mr Daly could have been life threatening and he will have on-going problems.
The judge accepted that Devoy was “somewhat under the influence” of his father at the time and was “vulnerable to that influence” before he jailed him for eight years.