A police constable who shot and blinded a so-called joyrider acted in complete defiance of firearms regulations, the High Court heard yesterday.
Stephen Fullerton was hit by lethal force as the officer fired twice into the stolen car in an east Belfast housing estate, it was claimed.
Fullerton is suing the PSNI for alleged assault and battery over the injuries he suffered in the incident seven years ago.
Police are defending the action, contending the vehicle was being driven at speed towards the officers involved.
Fullerton, 28, had been a passenger in the Vauxhall Monaro stolen by another man from a house in the Dundonald area in January 2007.
It was spotted by a police patrol and pursued into the Rockmount estate where the shooting incident occurred.
Fullerton suffered optic nerve damage, leaving him completely blind in one eye. He accepts previous involvement in joyriding incidents and later pleaded guilty to allowing himself to be carried in a stolen vehicle, the court heard.
But opening his civil action, counsel for the plaintiff, Patrick Lyttle QC, claimed the policeman who opened fire acted negligently in a residential area. The case continues.