A man who was pressurised by a prisoner to fire gunshots at a family home because of a grudge with a previous occupant of the house has been jailed for three and a half years.
Two adults and four children, including a young baby, were in the house when Sean Mooney (26) pointed a sawn off shot gun at the front door, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told.
The adults saw Mooney on the home's CCTV cameras. He was dressed in black with his face covered.
Garda Stephen Tierney told the court that the weapon jammed and Mooney walked away. He returned a short time later and was again spotted on the cameras carrying the gun.
A person in the house threw their mobile phone at the door, which caused a loud bang and Mooney ran off. No shots were fired and nobody was injured, Gda Tierney confirmed.
Mooney arrived at a garda station the next day and claimed that he been “casing” the area looking for houses to burgle because he needed cash to pay off a gambling debt. He said he saw the camera mounted on the wall and believed there were valuables in the house.
Mooney said it had been his intention to fire the gun at the camera.
Gda Tierney said that gardaí didn't accept Mooney's explanation. He said the CCTV footage from the cameras showed Mooney pointing the gun at the house.
His phone was also analysed and it was discovered that he had been communicating with a prisoner in Mountjoy. Gda Tierney told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that Mooney had been instructed by this man to fire shots at the house to intimidate and frighten the occupants as this man had a dispute with a person who previously lived there.
The garda told Judge Nolan that gardaí were satisfied that Mooney was put under pressure to get involved because he had a €5,000 gambling debt.
Mooney of Drumalee Park, North Circular Road, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intention to commit burglary on December 2, 2013. He has previous convictions for assault, burglary and threatening behaviour.
Judge Nolan said Mooney's purpose was to intimidate and frighten the occupants of the house.
“A certain person had a grudge against one of the past occupants of this house. He was to carry out this task to terrify the occupants and he succeeded, with good reason,” Judge Nolan said.
He added that these people witnessed someone outside their home “trying to shoot their door in”. He accepted that Mooney got involved because he was “indebted to third parties” but added that he was still culpable.
“He could have said 'no', but he didn't,” Judge Nolan said.
Luigi Rea BL, defending said his client had been left with six fractures to his hip from a previous beating because of this outstanding debt he owed.
“Fear and intimidation led to him agreeing to do this,” counsel said because he added that Mooney had previously been good at martial arts and he was now hoping to become a gym instructor.