Man jailed after shooting victim in front of his two children

The High Court in Belfast
The High Court in Belfast

A Belfast man who shot another man in the face with a pellet gun whilst the victim’s two young children were present has been sent to prison.

Jonathan Graham-Orr, from Beechill Park Avenue, was handed a four-and-a-half year sentence after he appeared at Belfast Crown Court on two offences arising from the incident.

The 30-year old admitted possessing a firearm/imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and of wounding the man he shot.

The court heard that as a result of being shot several times, the injured party had a tooth knocked out and also required plastic surgery to remove pellets from his face. His four-year old and two-year old children were at home when he was shot by Graham-Orr.

Graham-Orr was informed he will spend half his sentence in jail, with the remainder spent on supervised licence when he is released from prison. Judge Gordon Kerr QC also extended the licence period by a further 12 months after he told the court: “This man has both the capacity and capability to act in a way that is a danger to the community.”

Prior to sentencing, Judge Kerr was informed by Crown barrister Kate McKay that on January 9 last year Graham-Orr and the injured party had a telephone conversation and that “during that call there was a conversation believed to be about drugs”.

Later that day, Graham-Orr arrived at the injured party’s home in the Donegall Road area of Belfast. He was described as being red-faced and extremely drunk.

Graham-Orr then produced what appeared to be a black hand-gun, causing the injured man to fear for him, his partner and their two young children.

Graham-Orr then suggested he was armed with a knife, telling the injured man “you own me £50”. A row then broke out before Graham-Orr shot the other man in the face with what emerged to be a pellet gun.

Mrs McKay said Graham-Orr discharged the gun several times. The injured man had a tooth knocked out as a result of being shot in the face in what he later said was an unprovoked attack. He also sustained other injuries to his face and stomach and was treated in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

When he was arrested, Graham-Orr made the case that the injured man owed him money, and when he called at the other man’s house, it was he who was attacked first. He later admitted wounding the other man, and possessing the firearm/imitation firearm with intent.

The court also heard that Graham-Orr has “a number of relevant matters on his criminal record, including violent offences”.

Mrs McKay said that Graham-Orr has issues with alcohol, adding “he uses violence to resolve grievances.”

Mrs McKay said the incident has had a lasting effect on the victim as he was attacked at home, in front of his partner and children.

Defence barrister Patrick Lyttle QC said Graham-Orr had consumed a “substantial amount of drink” prior to the offence.

Accepting the attack was “ridiculous and cowardly”, Mr Lyttle revealed that his client’s previous violent offending was linked to “two gentlemen who had been with his mother” and was in a domestic setting.

Mr Lyttle said Graham-Orr was also injured in the incident last January, adding that after an unsettled childhood, there is now “some hope for the future” as his partner recently gave birth to their first child.

The barrister also revealed that Graham-Orr now appreciates the impact this has had on the injured party, and has realised being in prison is a “total waste” of his life.

As well as sending Graham-Orr to jail, Judge Kerr also ordered that the pellet gun be destroyed.