Northern Ireland

Joyrider shot in east Belfast settles PSNI case

A so-called joyrider shot and blinded in one eye while in a stolen car has settled legal action against the PSNI.

Stephen Fullerton sued over injuries he suffered when a police officer opened fire in an east Belfast housing estate seven years ago.

He was due to give evidence at the High Court as part of his assault and battery claim.

However, following private discussions the judge was told a confidential resolution had been reached.

On that basis, a judge agreed to stay the action on terms endorsed, meaning no details can be disclosed.

Mr Fullerton, 28, was a front seat passenger in the Vauxhall Monaro stolen by another man from a house in the Dundonald area in January 2007.

The court heard he had been "drunk, but not falling-down drunk" at the time.

A two-man police patrol spotted the vehicle on the Comber Road and pursued it into the Rockmount estate where the shooting incident occurred.

Despite confusion over whether the Monaro had come to a halt, counsel for the plaintiff said one of the officers discharged two bullets.

One round struck the edge of the windscreen while the second went through his client's arm and hit him on the right side of the head.

The man behind the wheel took off before returning to seek police help.

Fullerton suffered optic nerve damage, leaving him completely blind in one eye.

He accepted previous involvement in joyriding incidents and later pleaded guilty to allowing himself to be carried in the stolen vehicle, the court heard.

'Driven at officers'

Opening the civil action, his barrister claimed the policeman who opened fire acted in complete defiance of the relevant regulations.

He alleged that the officer shot directly at the car, aiming for the upper body or head, using lethal force in a built-up residential area.

Police defended the case by contending that the vehicle was being driven at speed towards officers who feared they were under potentially lethal attack.

Mr Fullerton was expected to be asked on Wednesday if he could recall whether or not the Monaro had stopped when the shots were fired.

But the settlement was reached and he did not go into the witness box.