Suspended sentence for Beaufort man who shot daughter’s partner in moment of madness

Gavel 2A Beaufort man was today given a suspended sentence for a “moment of madness” where he shot his daughter’s then partner, injuring him. 51-year-old Martin Clifford of Glencuttane, Kilgobnet, Beaufort had pleaded guilty to one count of Endangerment under the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, and one count of reckless discharge of a firearm under the Firearms and Weapons Act, at Glencuttane on January 1st 2014.   The Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee heard that whiskey had been produced during a New Year’s Eve party, and “old wounds” were re-opened in an act that was out of character for Martin Clifford, a married father of three. Mr Clifford went out to the shed and took the already loaded double barrel shot gun and discharged one barrel from 15 yards away at his daughter’s then partner, John Foley. Mr Foley of Boheshill, Glencar, had to spend three days in hospital having gunshot pellets removed from his right side. However, Mr Foley regarded what happened as “a moment of madness”, linked to intoxication; he still saluted Mr Clifford and he bore him “no animosity”, and said in a victim impact statement that he didn’t want him jailed. Judge John Hannan slammed the “loose control” of the licensed weapon as “outrageous” and said he wanted to send “a strong message” to farmers and others “privileged” to have access to guns. He convicted Mr Clifford on both counts, sentencing him to two years on each count, and suspending the sentence for three years, binding him to the peace. He also fined Mr Clifford, who the court heard was a modest farmer, €8,000.