THE family of Danny Philips who was shot in the head at John’s Square in Limerick city centre two years ago are hoping the conclusion of the criminal process will bring them some closure.
Their comments come after Shane Mason, aged 30, of Sean Heuston Place was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the attempted murder of the then 20-year-old on May 24, 2010.
Mason was also convicted of “intentionally or recklessly” causing serious harm to Danny Phillips and to possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life on the same date.
During the trial, the jury heard that Danny Phillips was critically injured when he was shot a number of times as he was driving a black Volkswagen Passat through John’s Square at around 9.30pm.
Danny, who spent several weeks in a coma after the shooting told the Central Criminal Court in July that his life had been “completely turned upside down” as a result of the incident.
“It has been a long time for the family - first with the garda investigation and then the court case followed by the sentencing last week but hopefully now we will all just be able to get on with our lives,” a relative of Danny told the Limerick Leader at the weekend.
In his victim impact statement at the Central Criminal Court, Danny Phillips spoke of his love of sport and soccer in particular.
While he can no longer play because of his injuries, less then 24 hours after Mason was sentenced in Dublin, Mr Philips was patrolling the sidelines at charity 7-a-side soccer tournament at the all-weather pitch at Our Lady of Lourdes’ Community Centre.
Sentencing Mason, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said there were no mitigating factors in the case.
He said the seriousness of the offence did not need to be elaborated on as “the facts speak for themselves”, but the court noted the contents of Mr Philips’ victim impact report as well as the recent onset of epilepsy in the victim.
Mason has 179 previous convictions, including a number for assault, possession of weapons and making threats to kill or cause serious injury.
He also has a number of previous convictions for possession of drugs for sale or supply and he was on bail when he attempted to murder Mr Philips.
Mr Justice Sheehan said the 17-year-sentence will begin early next year following the conclusion of a three-year-sentence which Mason is currently serving for drugs offences.
The final year was suspended on condition that Mason participates in an education course in prison which will enable him to reach Applied Leaving Certificate level.