herald

Tuesday 17 July 2018

'I'll blow him away' - court told of shout before shots

Charlene Donovan (23) is alleged to have fired two shots
Charlene Donovan (23) is alleged to have fired two shots

A young woman shouted "Daddy, come out, give me the gun, I'll blow him away" before firing a shotgun at a family, spraying a baby, the child's mother and a teenage boy with pellets, it has been alleged.

Charlene Donovan (23) is alleged to have fired two shots at members of the family, hitting three people.

She was granted bail at Blanchardstown District Court, despite objections, after Judge David McHugh ruled that witness statements were inadmissible because the people who made them were not in court to be cross-examined.

Ms Donovan, described as having an intellectual disability, was remanded in custody until she is able to lodge €2,000 bail.

The media was banned from reporting her current address or the date of her next court appearance for security reasons.

Ms Donovan, formerly of Parslickstown Gardens, Mulhuddart, was the second person to be charged in connection with a shooting incident there on December 11.

She is accused of having a shotgun with intent to endanger life.

Feud

Her father, Dan Donovan (48), was previously granted bail after being charged with possessing a shotgun and threatening to kill a man, Michael Collins, during the same incident.

Ms Donovan's court appearance yesterday was her second since she was arrested last week.

Gda Michael Parry Jones objected to bail, saying the background to the incident was an alleged ongoing feud between the Collins and Donovan families.

He said an argument took place on the day of the shooting and it was alleged that Ms Donovan was in the front garden of her family home while members of the Collins family were in theirs.

It was alleged that the acc-used was heard saying: "Daddy, come out, give me the gun, I'll blow him away."

It was alleged that she went out of sight and returned with a shotgun, which she discharged towards members of the Collins family.

Pellets sprayed the far side of the road, injuring a woman (29) and a 17-year-old boy who was holding an eight-month-old baby.

The court heard the woman suffered injuries to her hands and hip which required surgery. The baby sustained "significant pellet wounds" to both legs and feet, as well as a fractured ankle.

The baby has since been discharged from hospital but will require out-patient procedures and a full medical report was awaited, the garda said.

The 17-year-old suffered injuries to his abdomen, legs and arm. He has also been discharged from hospital.

Three rounds of shotgun ammunition were found in the front room of the Donovan family home and a sawn-off shotgun in the back garden after the incident, Gda Parry Jones said.

Ms Donovan had allegedly fired the shots in daylight towards people who were directly in front of her, he added.

He said the maximum penalty for the offence was life imprisonment, and he believed the case would fall at the upper end of the sentencing scale if the accused were convicted.

He outlined a number of alleged incidents in the feud, including a serious public order incident on August 24 last year, an affray the next day, the recovery of an imitation firearm from the Donovan family home and an incident last month in which a firearm was discharged at the address.

Gda Parry Jones said the Donovan home, which had been vacated, was burned in suspicious circumstances last week.

He said witnesses had provided corroborative statements.

Applying for bail, defence barrister Oisin Clarke said there was no evidence Ms Donovan was involved in the alleged feud.

She made no admissions in her garda interview and if refused bail would potentially be in custody until a trial in 2019, he said.

Hearsay

Questioned by Judge McHugh, Gda Parry Jones said he had not asked the witnesses to come to court and believed hearsay evidence was permitted.

He said that bringing the witnesses to court could exacerbate the feud, while state solicitors were not usually present for district court bail hearings.

Judge McHugh said hearsay evidence could be admitted only on sufficient grounds, and a state solicitor should have been present for the hearing.

He granted €2,000 cash bail, on condition that the accused signs on daily at a garda station, observes a 10pm to 7am curfew, surrenders her passport and has no contact with witnesses.

Ms Donovan, dressed in a navy blue jacket, blue leggings and black boots, sat silently during the bail hearing.

She has not yet indicated how she intends to plead.

Dan Donovan, a father-of-15, is accused of pointing a gun at Mr Collins and telling him: "I am going to bury you for ever."

A court heard previously that Mr Donovan replied to the threat to kill charge: "All lies, that is all s**t talk."

He was granted bail despite garda objections, but was remanded in custody until he is able to take it up.

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