Saturday 16 December 2017

Eyewitnesses describe shooting of Limerick man

Jessica Magee

EYEWITNESSES have given evidence in the trial of a 30-year-old Limerick man accused of shooting another man in the head in the city two years ago.

Shane Mason, of Seán Heuston Place in Limerick, has pleaded not guilty of the attempted murder of Daniel Philips at St John's Square in the city on May 24th, 2010.

Mason has also denied three charges of causing serious harm to Mr Philips, now aged 24, and posessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life on the same occasion.

On the first day of the trial, the court heard that Danny Philips was critically injured and spent almost a month in a coma after he was shot in the head and abdomen, but that he has since made a good recovery.

Giving evidence to the court, former Limerick taxi driver Wayne Brazil described hearing a man firing six or seven shots just after he had deposited passengers at St John's Square sometime after 9pm on May 24th, 2010.

Mr Brazil said he saw “bright orange flashes of light” and saw a light-haired man of stocky build holding a gun with one hand, and wearing a bright blue tee-shirt and silky black tracksuit pants.

Mr Brazil said the man was “kind of calm about it” as he put the gun inside his pants and ran off towards Church Street.

He added that the man had been aiming the gun in the direction of a black Volkswagon Passat, which did a u-turn in the square before driving up Gerald Griffin Street.

The court heard that Daniel Philips had been driving the black Volkswagon Passat with two friends when the first shots were fired at him at about 9.30 pm on the night in question.

Prosecuting counsel Ms Una Ní Raifertaigh SC said the victim braked and started to reverse back into St John's Square, before more shots were fired at him and he slumped over the wheel.

She said the man in the passenger seat then reached over and took the wheel, manoevring Mr Philips out of the driving seat and proceeding at speed to Limerick Regional Hospital.

The jury were told that medical evidence would show that Mr Philips was shot in the abdomen and also in the back of the head, causing a bullet to be lodged in his skull.

Ms Ní Raifertaigh asserted on behalf of the prosecution that whoever fired those shots into the car intended to kill, and claimed the gunman was Shane Mason.

She said Shane Mason was arrested about an hour after the shooting, wearing a bullet proof vest and leaving a nearby apartment complex called Brennan's Row.

She added that although no weapon was recovered, cartridges and bullets were found that had been fired from a Glock semi-automatic pistol.

The court also heard evidence from several other eye-witnesses, including a Latvian man who lived on St John's Square at the time and watched from his apartment window as a gunman fired several shots towards the black Volkswagon Passat before running away.

Vitalis Pavloskys said the gunman's body language as he fired the shots was “like in the movies” and that a minute after the gunman fled the scene, he saw the same man riding a bicycle very fast back across the square.

The jury were told to expect to hear evidence of CCTV footage during the course of the trial, which is expected to last three weeks.

The trial resumes tomorrow under Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and a jury of seven men and five women.

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