Belfast Telegraph

Belsonic Madness concert-goer admits 2010 shooting

By Michael Donnelly

A Belfast man whose bail was once relaxed so he could attend a 'Madness' concert, has been remanded into custody after pleading guilty to involvement in a shooting nearly six years ago which left the victim with life changing injuries.

Revoking the bail of Patrick Joseph O'Neill, Judge Patrick Kinney said he accepted prosecution arguments that "clearly the landscape has changed," given the 41-year-old's pleas which inevitably would lead to a substantial custodial sentence.

O'Neill, whose address was given as 'no fixed abode', had been due to go on trial at Belfast Crown Court arising out of the November 2010 gun attack in Ardoyne's Brompton Park in which a man was shot several times in the groin and abdomen.

However, his defence lawyer Jonathan Browne asked that O'Neill be re-arragined.  He initially admitted possessing a Glock pistol with intent and secondly to unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous bodily harm, both on November 15, 2010.

Prosecution lawyer David Russell said that in light of O'Neill's guilty pleas, he would apply for the first court, of wounding, to be "left on the books".

Following the re-arraignment, O'Neill's lawyer asked that he be released on continuing bail, "nothwithstanding the serious nature of the charges" he had now admitted. 

Mr Browne, who succeeded in getting O'Neill's bail relaxed to attend the summer Belsonic music event, pointed out that he had been on bail for over a year.

Mr Browne accepted that O'Neill's crimes "will attract a considerable custodial sentence", but argued that his bail conditions had, on four separate occasions, also been relaxed to allow him to leave the jurisdiction, and had all times adhered to all conditions.

However, Crown lawyer Mr Russell said that O'Neill had admitted involvement in a shooting in which five shots were discharged, leaving the victim with "life changing injuries".

"Clearly the landscape has changed," said Mr Russell who argued that O'Neill now stood to be sentenced for serious offences.

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