Limerick plumber charged over shooting at home remanded on continuing bail

Limerick District Court.

A PLUMBER who allegedly fired four shots from a shotgun from his house, seriously injuring a man because he was concerned his house was about to be shot up, has been remanded on continuing bail.

Jason Higgins (44), of Crecora Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, is alleged to have fired the shots from his licensed over-and-under 12-gauge double-barreled shotgun last January.

He is charged with one count of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Gardaí told Limerick District Court in January that Mr Higgins was the owner of four licensed guns, including three rifles and one shotgun.

A man in his 30s with relatives living in the Ballinacurra Weston area was shot and seriously injured in the incident, the court heard.

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The man was treated at University Hospital Limerick for a number of gunshot wounds to his back and shoulder area.

This week, Gardaí informed the court that they had not yet received directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Mr Higgins was remanded on continuing bail to appear before Limerick District Court in June.

Detective Garda Shane Kirwan of Roxboro Road Garda Station told a bail hearing last January that footage from security cameras at Mr Higgins’ home showed a shotgun being “aimed” out of an upstairs bedroom window in the house and that two rounds were fired from the gun.

Detective Kirwan claimed the video footage shows Mr Higgins exiting the house after the first two shots were fired from upstairs and discharging two further rounds over his front gate “into the air”.

“It happened at 16.40, in daylight hours, in an area where children are often seen playing,” the Garda said, before alleging that Mr Higgins is “clearly identified on the CCTV footage”.

Detective Kirwan said the shooting posed “a danger to life” as it happened in a built-up residential area, explaining the charge brought against Mr Higgins caries a maximum life sentence.

The court heard Gardaí retrieved two shotgun cartridges from a bedroom in Mr Higgins’ house.

Under cross-examination by solicitor Sarah Ryan, for the accused, Detective Kirwan agreed that Mr Higgins had to complete a “rigorous” firearm licence application process, which was approved by a Garda superintendent.

Ms Ryan said Mr Higgins and other members of his family alleged that they grew concerned for their safety when a man wearing dark clothing and a face covering, who was not identified in court, appeared to be acting suspiciously and “pacing” outside their home moments before the shooting.

Detective Kirwan agreed with Ms Ryan that her client and members of his family have further alleged that when this unidentified masked man was asked what he was doing, he put his hand in a pocket of his clothing.

This caused the Higgins family to fear that “the house would be shot in”, Ms Ryan said, “he fired shots believing the house was to be shot up”.

“If it goes in front of a jury it will probably come down to whether you have the right to protect your property.”