Suspected gunman opened fire on his birthday
A LIMERICK man accused of attempted murder claims he spent his 28th birthday - the day of the alleged crime - drinking cans at his girlfriend's apartment.
Shane Mason (30), of Seán Heuston Place in Limerick, denies shooting a teenager in the head and chest at St John's Square in the city on May 24th, 2010.
He has also pleaded not (NOT) guilty to causing serious harm to the teenager, and possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger his life.
The victim Daniel Philips, now aged 20, spent over a month in a coma after he was shot several times while driving through St John's Square.
He has been left with a limp and occasional forgetfulness, but is currently studying for his Leaving Cert and is expected by doctors to make a full recovery.
Shane Mason was arrested about an hour after the shooting as he left his girlfriend Tara Troy's apartment at nearby Brennan's Row, wearing a bullet-proof vest.
He told gardaí he was on his way to a friend's house as it was his birthday.
“I didn't do no shooting,” he told gardaí later.
Mason said himself and Tara Troy had been to the family law court that morning to discuss childcare arrangements for their daughter, and that afterwards he had bought a few cans of cider from Champers off-licence.
“I went back to my girlfriend's and didn't stir out from there the rest of the day,” he told gardaí.
When asked to explain the presence of gunshot residue found by forensic experts on both of his hands and in his underwear, Shane Mason replied “no comment”.
A number of eye-witnesses have described seeing a gunman in St John's Square holding a pistol with both hands as he fired several shots at a moving car, before tucking the gun into the front of his tracksuit bottoms.
Mason's navy underpants, along with the bullet-proof vest he was wearing when he was arrested, were displayed to the jury in court.
The court heard that seven spent cartridge shells were recovered at St John's Square, while more used shells were found at the arrest scene in Brennan's Row.
No weapon was recovered, but gardaí say the shells had been fired from a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol.
The trial continues tomorrow at the Central Criminal Court before Judge Garret Sheehan and a jury of seven men and five women.
It's expected to conclude later this week.