WITNESSES to a shooting which left a young man fighting for his life have described how they took cover as a gunman opened fire on a car as it drove through John’s Square.
The evidence was heard on the opening day of the trial of Shane Mason who has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Daniel Phillips on May 24, 2010.
It is the prosecution case that Mason, aged 24, of Sean Heuston Place, Limerick fired a number of shots into a black Volkswagon Passat, which was being driven by Mr Philips at around 9.30pm.
The then 22-year-old was critically injured and spent several weeks in a coma following the incident.
Mason also denies “intentionally or recklessly” causing serious harm to Daniel Phillips and to possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life on the same date.
In her opening address, Una Ni Raifeartaigh SC, prosecuting, told the jury that Daniel Phillips sustained “life threatening” injuries and that it was a “blessing” that he has made quite a good recovery since the shooting.
She said Mr Phillips sustained a gunshot wound to the back of his neck and his lower back and she told the jurors they would hear medical evidence that bullets were lodged in his skull and abdomen.
The jury of seven men and five women was told that while no firearm was ever recovered by gardai, bullets and cartridges found at the scene were consistent with having been fired from a semi-automatic pistol.
The jury also heard that Shane Mason was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he was arrested by gardai near John’s Square around an hour after the shooting.
Taxi driver Wayne Brazil told the court that he was dropping a fare in John’s Square when he heard a loud bang.
He said he initially thought a tyre had burst on a black Volkwagen Passat which was nearby but that he then saw a number of “bright orange flashes of light” before the Passat drove off at speed in the direction of Gerald Griffin Street.
Mr Brazil said when he realised what was happening he ducked down and lay across the passenger seat of his taxi.
He told Ms Ni Raifeartaigh he saw a man holding a handgun walking away in the direction of Donkey Forde’s fish and chip shop moments after the shooting,
When asked about the demeanour of the man he said he was “kind of calm about it actually”.
A Latvian man who lives at an apartment overlooking John’s Square said he heard four or five loud bangs at 9.30pm. He said he then heard the sound of a car speeding away and that when he looked out his window he saw a gunman walking away “like in a gangster movie”.
The witness told the jury that a short time later he saw the same man cycle across John’s Square in the direction of the Square Bar.
The trial, which is being heard before Mr Justice Garret Sheehan, is expected to last for three weeks.