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Man 'fired gun into house hitting woman in head', court is told

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Jason Freeman is accused of the gun attack

Jason Freeman is accused of the gun attack

Jason Freeman is accused of the gun attack

A woman was nearly killed when she was shot in the head by a man who fired into her home amid an ongoing feud between two organised crime groups, a court has been told.

The suspected gunman, Jason Freeman (26) is alleged to have first pointed the loaded firearm at an innocent bystander outside the house, tried and failed to shoot the man in the leg, then put the weapon to his head.

Judge Dermot Dempsey refused to grant bail to Mr Freeman at Dublin District Court and remanded him in custody to Friday.

The accused, from Woodhazel Terrace, Ballymun, is charged with possession of a firearm and unlawfully discharging it. The incident is alleged to have happened at Shangan Park, also in Ballymun on Sunday, June 28.

Handgun

Garda Harley Spackman said the accused made no reply when charged and cautioned at Ballymun Garda Station.

Objecting to bail, he said it was alleged the accused approached the house at Shangan Park at 2.33pm, entered the driveway of a neighbouring house and approached a man standing there - an "innocent bystander". He took a handgun from his right pocket and pointed it at the man's leg.

From CCTV footage, the accused appears to attempt to shoot the man in the leg but the gun does not appear to fire, Gda Spackman told the court. He "rechambers" the round, "re-cocks" the gun and attempts to fire it but again, no round is discharged. He appears to initially have difficulty operating the firearm, then approaches the man who is "visibly distressed" and pushes the gun to his head. He then points it in the direction of the doorway of the other house and fires two shots into it, Gda Spackman continued.

The female occupant was shot in the head by one of the projectiles, which struck her "on the crown of her skull", causing her injury, the garda said. The accused then left the driveway, got onto the pushbike on which he had arrived and cycled in the direction of his family home a very short distance away.

Gardai, responding to a call, intercepted him at the doorway a short time later.

The garda said the evidence was "very strong", including footage from two working CCTV cameras and statements of witnesses to whom the accused was personally known. The cameras clearly captured the accused from the moment he cycled up to the property, Gda Spackman said.

Clothing was seized and the garda said a jacket worn by the accused had firearm residue. This was compared to a shell casing that was recovered and there was a "commonality between the two".

Gda Spackman said the man on the CCTV was seen wearing a "uniquely distinctive bobble hat" and jacket which was seized. He said gardai believed it was a "local gangland feud-related incident" and the feud had been going on for maybe a year. It flared up again quite recently and the motive was the intimidation of the people who were targeted, he alleged.

The firearm alleged to have been used had not been recovered. Gda Spackman said gardai did not want the discarded gun in the community where a child could come across it.

He said there were "two groupings within the area" and there was a flare up between "two organised crime gangs in relation to the drugs trade in the area". This had been "spiralling" since last Friday.

Loaded

He believed, if granted bail, the accused would interfere with witnesses and abscond.

Questioned by defence solicitor Edward Bradbury, the garda did not accept that a motivation for Mr Freeman being named as the shooter was because of a "dislike" between those people and the accused.

He said the accused was arrested when he came back out of his home "minus" the jacket and bobble hat. The garda would not agree to bail if the accused moved out of the area.

He said the alleged discharge of the gun "nearly killed a woman by shooting her in the head" and "two people could have been killed" by the accused who "put a loaded gun to a man's head". Judge Dempsey remanded the accused in custody to appear in Cloverhill District Court on July 3.