Man told to feel huge shame for shooting disabled victim

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 26/03/2014

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A Palmerston North man has been told he should feel hugely ashamed after shooting an intellectually disabled man - who was asking for cigarette butts - in the head and body with a gun.

Judge Les Atkins told Benny Jeffrey Walter Barr in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday that his attack was "extraordinary" in the circumstances.

Barr, 22, was in court yesterday for sentencing after admitting the assault.

The disabled man was wandering the streets of Palmerston North in the early hours of December 18, looking for cigarette butts, when he walked up a driveway.

Barr and a friend were sitting in his shed drinking with a friend, when the man walked in.

When he asked Barr for cigarettes, Barr pulled out an air gun and started firing rounds from about 10 metres away.

The gun's plastic pellets hit the man's face and body, with one pellet going behind his eyelid and hurting his eye.

The man ran, but Barr and his friend chased him.

Judge Atkins said the victim's confidence and feeling of safety had been damaged by the attack. "You see, Mr Barr, people who have the misfortunes like this victim has often find it difficult to believe they are accepted in the community.

"Unfortunately, some members of the community behave cruelly to such people, and in doing so make those people's lives less fulfilling than they might otherwise be.

"The shame that you should feel as a result of your actions should be huge. No community should be prepared to tolerate behaviour of this kind towards someone who is disadvantaged."

Judge Atkins sentenced Barr to three months' community detention, six months' supervision and 100 hours' community work.

He must also pay the victim $1000 in emotional reparation.

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- Manawatu Standard

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