Christopher Cunningham, 34, fired rifle shots just to warn group, hears ACT Supreme Court trial | Canberra Times

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A bullet that hit a man who left him with a “significant amount of blood” was “just a stroke of luck” because the accused gunman fired random shots and did not charge the gun for killing, a witness has told a court. The witness, Sarah Avison, was with the accused gunman Christopher Cunningham and another man, Alex Dimitrov, in a Theodore room in March 2019, when Mr Cunningham allegedly fired a rifle about half a dozen times at a group. Mr. Cunningham, 34, is on trial in the ACT’s Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm and unauthorized possession of a handgun. The Calwell man also filed the same plea to fire a gun to create fear for a person, a back-up charge to the charge of bodily harm. The court had heard that the alleged victim, Graham O’Neil, and about five others went to the house after a birthday party to talk to Mr Dimitrov about a debt. Upon arrival, the suspected victim started yelling at him, but was told that “the police are coming”. The group turned around and started walking when Mr Cunningham allegedly fired once into the air, causing the group to run before firing about half a dozen bullets at them. Sir. O’Neil’s right thigh was hit by one of the bullets that Mr Cunningham allegedly fired, resulting in hospitalization. On Wednesday, the court heard Ms Avison during her interview with police said the shots were random because the accused “did not aim at Graham”. “He was not trying to kill … it was just random shots,” she said. “It was just a stroke of luck that he was shot.” “I did not see anyone fall or anyone get hurt, it just looked like everyone was running away.” Her statements to police also included that “it was like warning shots pretty much”. MORE NEWS Asked by defense attorney Margaret Jones SC about her statements, Ms. Avison said: “I heard bang, bang, bang, so I just assumed it was random shots, but I did not actually see them shoot”. “As soon as I heard the shooting, I ran in,” she said. Mrs Avison told the court that she initially came out of the house because she heard “all the noise”, which included “Graham went off”. “He just yelled, was a bit of a hero … and kept going,” she said. “I remember I told him to ‘just relax’ and go and talk to them.” She described the group of visitors as “very noisy” and “all elated and rude”. During his opening statement on Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Marcus Dyason said there would be evidence that Mr O’Neil’s friends were back in panic. “It’s probably understandable – their friend had just been shot and a significant amount of blood came from his legs,” he said. For the charge of grievous bodily harm, the Crown also relies on the statutory alternative of recklessly, rather than intentionally, inflicting it. The trial of Judge David Mossop continues. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the local community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:



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