By Brion Hoban
A man who fired a handgun to “cause terror” resulting in a grandmother being grazed with a bullet inside her home has been jailed for seven years.
Jason Freeman (26) pointed the gun at a man’s head in a driveway before he moved the gun away and discharged two shots, which went through the front door of the house next door.
One of the bullets grazed the head of the woman who lived in the house with her children.
Freeman of Woodhazel Terrace, Ballymun, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a 9mm handgun in suspicious circumstances at Shangan Park, Ballymun, on June 28, 2020.
The court heard that a further count of recklessly discharging a firearm was taken into consideration.
Freeman’s 48 previous convictions include convictions for robbery, assault causing harm and obstruction of a peace officer.
Garda Harley Spackman told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, a woman was in her home with her children and grandchild when she looked out her living room window and saw the accused man parking a bike between her house and her neighbour’s house.
Gda Spackman said the woman had gone to the door of her living room when she heard “roaring” and a “bang” before she felt something on the top of her head.
She put her hand it her head which came away covered in blood and she realised she had been grazed following a gunshot.
The victim sustained a one inch wound to the top of her head which required eight staples. She was released from hospital later the same day and did not wish to make a victim impact statement.
CCTV footage played court showed Freeman cycling up the house, entering the driveway beside the victim’s house and pointing a gun at another man.
Freeman first pointed the gun at the man’s lower body, then at his head and two shots were discharged after he moved the gun away from the other man.
Both bullets went through the victim’s front door and one struck the victim.
Gda Spackman said he believed Freeman intentionally fired the shots towards the building. The firearm has not been retrieved.
Freeman cycled away after the incident and was later arrested at his home. He made no admissions to gardaí during interview and gave no explanation for the incident.
Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, said his instructions were that his client went to the scene “in anger” and discharged the gun to put the person outside in fear.
He said his client was “extremely sorry” it resulted in the risk to and injury of another person.
Mr Ó Lideadha said his client was ashamed of what he has done and sorry for the hurt and pain he caused the victims.
He said his client will never forgive himself for this “moment of madness”.
Counsel said his client has children with his partner, the youngest of whom has been born since he went into custody. He said his client is a person who wants to live a positive life and who is realistic that he needs to leave the Ballymun area to do so.
Judge Martin Nolan said he had “no doubt” that Freeman’s intention was not to cause injury or to kill, but rather to “cause terror”. He said the accused had succeeded.
Judge Nolan said any offence involving a firearm is serious because it is a “lethal weapon”. He said the accused seems to be a good father who can reform himself, but that he deserves a long custodial sentence for his behaviour.
He sentenced Freeman to seven years imprisonment.
He backdated the sentence to June 30, last, when the accused first went into custody.