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Saturday 21 April 2018

'We've a right to defend our homes', says man who shot intruder

Graham Lowndes, right, with his late father Richard in a photo from 2016. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Graham Lowndes, right, with his late father Richard in a photo from 2016. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A man who shot and injured an intruder at his father's house in 2012 has welcomed a court decision to acquit Martin Keenan of the murder of a trespasser.

In the first such case defended under the Defence and the Dwelling Act, Mr Keenan was this week cleared of murdering Wesley Mooney.

Graham Lowndes was himself prosecuted after he shot and injured thief Matthew Fahey when confronting him at his father's house in 2012.

But reacting to this week's not guilty verdict, Mr Lowndes said the law will be of comfort to homeowners and may make intruders think twice about trespassing and burglary.

"I feel very strongly that a person has a right to defend themselves and their property," said Mr Lowndes.

"What went on for years was unfair. When you are in that position of being confronted in your home, you don't have time to be thinking about rights and laws. You just want to protect yourself," he added.

Matthew Fahey (36) was trespassing in the house and land of Graham's father, elderly farmer Richard Lowndes (84), in Kilsallaghan, Co Dublin.

Graham Lowndes arrived in a lorry, grabbed a shotgun from the house and chased one of the fleeing vehicles into the fields. Fahey received shotgun injuries to his arm.

Graham (53) received the probation act in July 2016 when he pleaded guilty to having a shotgun without a certificate on the day he shot Fahey. A more serious charge of reckless discharge of a shotgun was dropped.

Fahey, who was on bail at the time, had more than 60 convictions for theft and burglary, later initiated a civil case for injury caused by 17 shotgun pellets.

Richard Lowndes died last year. His son said he lived his last few years with his house like a fortress because he feared another burglary.

"The law is now leaning in a more sensitive way. After all, they guy who breaks into your house chooses to do so, and up until now the chances of legal consequences were on his side, but now it is more balanced," Mr Lowndes said.

"Homeowners might feel more at ease in their minds that they can protect themselves now because the law is more on their side.

"My dad, who suffered as a result of a burglary, would have been happy with the result of the case that seems to finally give the homeowner the right to defend their property and also gives them the feeling that the law is weighed more in their favour than the criminal."

He added that he would now like to see the implementation of our bail laws enforced more strongly.

"We have situations where people are committing crimes while on bail, and then going out and doing it again," he said.

"I think a person should be locked up if they breach their bail conditions."

Irish Independent

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