Shooting appeal successful
MACKAY man Christopher Dales has successfully appealed against a conviction for intentionally shooting Erakala resident Ernie Wilson and leaving him with life-threatening injuries.
Queensland's highest court has set aside his conviction and his nine-year jail sentence.
However, in a 23-page legal ruling, the Court of Appeal has not released Dales from prison and has referred his case to the District Court for either another trial or resentencing.
Dales, 31, and co-accused Matthew Cook, 28, went on trial in the Supreme Court in Mackay in March this year charged with attempted murder.
The two men went to 50-year-old Ernie Wilson's residence in Sugarshed Rd. Dales was armed with a double barrel shotgun and Cook was there to support him.
Dales was looking for a woman who was supposed to be caring for his child, who was about four years old.
The Crown case was that Dales fired a shotgun in Wilson's left pelvic and stomach area, leaving a gaping hole in his side.
The victim had between 100 and 150 shotgun pellets surgically removed, as well as a piece of plastic wadding from the shotgun cartridge.
The defence case was that the shotgun accidentally discharged in the bathroom when Dales slammed it down on a vanity bench.
The jury found Dales and Cook not guilty of attempted murder.
They convicted Dales of intentionally doing grievous bodily harm, for which he was jailed for nine years.
However, in the Court of Appeal yesterday Justice Margaret Wilson ruled that the verdict can not be supported by the evidence.
Before his trial, Dales pleaded guilty to doing grievous bodily harm by negligence, and a District Court judge now has to decide if Dales should go to trial on that lesser charge, or be sentenced if the plea is maintained.
In either case, Dales can expect a significantly lesser sentence than nine years.
His co-accused, Matthew Cook, who was also found not guilty of attempted murder, was convicted by the jury of a lesser charge of causing bodily harm while in company; he was sentenced to three years in jail and did not appeal.