Northern Ireland

Fermanagh man shot at crows from moving car

A driver seen firing a shotgun out the window of his moving vehicle had been given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and fined £300.

Bernard Murray, 44, admitted firing the weapon on a public road, having a loaded shotgun in a public place and not having a firearm certificate.

Murray told police who stopped him that he was only shooting crows.

A District Judge told Fermanagh court it was something "you might see in south Texas".

A prosecutor told the court that at 07:00 GMT on Saturday, 24 March, police were travelling along the Coragh Road at Rosslea, when they saw the barrel of a shotgun sticking out the window of the vehicle in front.

The driver was shooting crows from his moving vehicle.

The prosecutor said the police stopped the vehicle and discovered that the driver, Murray, from Eshnadarragh Road, Tonnaghboy, Rosslea, did not have a firearm certificate.

He had in the past held a firearm certificate but it had expired.

District Judge Liam McNally said he was surprised Murray was not charged with careless driving, as people can be charged with using a mobile phone while driving and he was shooting crows while driving.

Defence solicitor Niall Bogue said Murray had not previously come to the attention of the court.

It was reckless behaviour but there was no risk of serious harm from him, he said.

Mr Bogue said Murray helped out on the family farm but has some health difficulties that made him unsuitable for community service.

He said Murray had been out of the jurisdiction and his firearm certificate had lapsed. The court case would have implications for him and his brother in getting a certificate again.

The District Judge said the English guidelines recommended a custodial sentence because it was a serious offence as he did not have a firearm certificate and it was not his gun.

He accepted that Murray did not have the weapon for an ulterior motive but it didn't belong to him, he did not have a licence for it and was shooting crows out of a moving vehicle.