Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Jail for trio who botched shooting

Three "vigilantes" who were part of a botched punishment shooting squad have been jailed for a total of 16-and-a-half years.

However, the three Belfast men, Robert O'Neill (35), Sean O'Reilly (36) and Anthony Rooney (49) were told by Judge Patrick Lynch QC they will each serve two-and-a-half years in custody to be followed by three years on licence.

A fourth man, 42-year-old Stephen McAllister from Forest Street, will be sentenced next month for the botched shooting attempt on July 22 2010.

All four pleaded guilty to the attempted wounding of Ciaran McGuigan and possessing two firearms, and prosecuting lawyer Peter Magill told the court how the four were arrested during a "planned police operation" in the west of the city.

Belfast Crown Court heard that officers saw four men at the back of a house on St James Road and a fifth, carrying a bag around 100 metres away.

The four men got into a car, but that was stopped by police on the Milltown Road

In jailing the three men, Judge Lynch told them "this type of vigilante activity... is a pollution on our society and cannot be tolerated by these courts," adding that it was fortunate for them, and for Mr McGuigan "that it was not carried out with any degree of efficiency".

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