herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

a man who lost his temper and shot a work colleague in the buttock at a Dublin recycling firm is to be sentenced later.

a man who lost his temper and shot a work colleague in the buttock at a Dublin recycling firm is to be sentenced later.

Anton Zefaj, an Albanian national who has been living in Ireland for the past 17 years under a false name, shot at mechanic Stankislaw Bognal six times following an argument over the maintenance of a truck. One bullet hit him in the buttock.

Mr Bognal has been left in fear of his life and paranoid as a result of the shooting.

Zefaj (34), of Hazelwood Crescent, Clondalkin, was found guilty after a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of possessing a firearm with the intent to endanger life, possessing a firearm in suspicious circumstances and assault causing harm to Mr Bognal at National Recycling in Clondalkin on August 7, 2012.

Detective Garda Tomas Doyle told Colm O'Briain, BL, prosecuting, that both Zefaj and Mr Bognal, a Polish man, were employed at National Recycling.

Zefaj had been working in Ireland under the false name of Roc Tirpin.

Mr Bognal, a mechanic, was working on two skip trucks when Zefaj approached him to complain about the breaks on the truck he was driving. Mr Bognal told Zefaj if he drove the truck slowly the breaks would work.

Zefaj became aggressive and started to verbally abuse Mr Bognal before a physical confrontation took place in the workshop. Another employee broke the fight up and Zefaj left the workshop.

He returned a short time later with a black handgun in his right hand and fired the gun, directly aiming it at Mr Bognal. A bullet hit Mr Bognal in the buttock with another five shots missing him.

Mr Bognal had begged Zefaj to stop while he sought safety in a metal grabber. Zefaj drove away in one of the company's trucks and Mr Bognal was brought to James Connolly Memorial Hospital where he was treated for his injury.

Gardaí obtained a search warrant for Zefaj's house and while his wife was there, she received a phone call from the defendant saying he had left the country. Zefaj was located a short time later at a friend's house where he denied shooting Mr Bognal and indicated Mr Bognal had shot himself.

Defence counsel Shane Costelloe SC, said Zefaj offers his apologies to his victim and has offered €4,000 in compensation as "a physical demonstration of his remorse."

"He now accepts the verdict and accepts he did shoot Mr Bognol," said Mr Costelloe.

"It is a troubling matter as it was a low key confrontation which escalated beyond all understanding in the blink of an eye," he added, explaining that the defendant had found the gun in scrap a few months earlier.

"He just snapped and got the gun. It seems to be grossly out of character. He is a family man and has never done anything like this before.

"There was an ongoing dispute over a truck he drove everyday and this should have been an old fashioned 'straightener' rather than a shooting," said Mr Costelloe.

In a victim impact report Mr Bognol said he has not had a full night's sleep since the shooting and is in fear of his life.

"I find it hard to get motivated and find it very difficult to trust anyone. Even if I see someone coming towards me, I get paranoid and my wife wants me to stay at home as she fears it will happen again," Mr Bognol stated in his report.

Judge Hogan adjourned sentencing until next month for a Governor's report as he said he had concerns when the court heard that while in custody, Zefaj lost his temper with a television and broke it but had offered to pay for the damage.

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