Accidental gunshot man had miracle escape

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC
Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

A man had a miracle escape from death when he was shot by an accidental blast from a legally held gun whilst travelling in a van.

Details of the lucky escape emerged at Ballymena Court when a Belfast man, now living in Carnlough, admitted a charge of failing to comply with a condition regarding a firearms certificate.

James Francis Patrick Ross (48), of Whitehill Road, failed to comply with a condition on March 13 last year that ‘firearms and ammunition being conveyed in a vehicle must be hidden from view and should be secured to an anchorage point or contained in a securely fixed and locked box within the said vehicle’.

A prosecutor said a number of friends were in a van along with legally held firearms registered to Ross but the weapons were left unsecured in the back. One of the guns “went off” injuring a mann. The prosecutor said it was an accident and no other charges were brought.

A defence lawyer said Ross was normally “absolutely meticulous” about the firearms and on the date in question friends came to visit him and they had gone in a friend’s vehicle to do some shooting in the hills above the Glens. The lawyer said the guns were in cases but the weapon which had gone off had fallen out of the case. Ross was given a two year conditional discharge by District Judge Peter King.