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Shot burglar will face new 'reasonable force' law

GARDAI are considering the case of a man shot with a legally held shotgun during an apparent attempted robbery in north Co Dublin in the light of Justice Minister Alan Shatter's new law on the use of reasonable force to defend the home.

They are waiting to interview the north Dublin man, who was injured during an apparent attempted burglary at the home of a 79-year-old farmer on Thursday evening last.

The injured man, being treated in Beaumont Hospital, has an injury to his arm believed to have been caused when the son of Richard Lowndes, Graham Lowndes, came across men he believed to be carrying out a robbery on his father's farm in Kilsallaghan, between Finglas and Ashbourne.

The injured man, who is aged 34 and from Finglas, is well known to gardai in Dublin. He has a large number of convictions relating to car theft and motoring offences and is disqualified from driving. He is also currently before the courts in relation to 23 charges.

Graham Lowndes said he was "just defending" his father's home when he opened fire with a legally held shotgun at what he believed to be men raiding the farm. Damage was caused to the house and an unsuccessful attempt was made to break into a gun locker containing other shotguns. Money and personal belongings are understood to have been taken.

Gardai were content to allow Graham Lowndes to travel on a pre-arranged holiday with his family to Spain on Friday and are apparently happy to interview him on his scheduled return.

Graham Lowndes told gardai he was in fear of his life when he went to his father's farm at around 3.30pm on Thursday and was confronted by two men standing beside a silver Lexus car outside the farmhouse. As this was happening, a second car, a BMW X5 four-wheel drive, arrived and it was at this stage, it is understood, that the shotgun was discharged and the Finglas man was injured.

The injured man was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and then transferred to Beaumont Hospital, where he has undergone an operation on his arm and may require more surgery.

Richard Lowndes was uninjured in the incident, which took place in an area where burglaries, including serious aggravated home invasions and "distraction" robberies -- where robbers bluff their way into the homes of elderly people -- have been commonplace in the past decade and more.

The man being treated in hospital is understood to have told a number of news organisations that he was at the Maryland farm in Kilsallaghan because he wished to thank the man who lived there for a favour he had shown him after his car allegedly broke down nearby. He claims to be the innocent victim of a shooting.

Sunday Independent