Christopher Cunningham, 34, Fired Gunshots Only To Warn The Group, ACT Supreme Court Hearing | The Canberra Times

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A bullet that struck a man, leaving him with a “significant amount of blood” was “just a fluke” as the accused gunman fired random shots and did not aim the gun to kill, a witness has told a court. The witness, Sarah Avison, was with accused gunman Christopher Cunningham and another man, Alex Dimitrov, at a property in Theodore in March 2019 when Mr Cunningham reportedly fired about half a dozen rifles into a group. Cunningham, 34, is on trial before the ACT Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to intentional grievous bodily harm and unauthorized possession of a weapon. The Calwell man also made the same plea to fire a gun to scare someone, backing up the bodily harm charge. The court 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 alleged victim began yelling at him but was told “the police are coming”. The group turned and began to leave when Mr Cunningham reportedly fired once into the air, forcing the group to run before firing about half a dozen rounds at them. Mr O’Neil’s right thigh was hit by one of the bullets allegedly fired by Mr Cunningham, leading to hospitalization. On Wednesday, the court heard Ms Avison said during her interview with police that the shots were random because the accused “didn’t aim at Graham”. “He wasn’t trying to kill… it was just random shots,” she said. “It was really just a fluke that he got shot.” “I didn’t see anyone fall or get hurt, it seemed like everyone ran away.” Her statements to police also included that “it was actually like warning shots”. MORE NEWS Asked by attorney Margaret Jones SC about her statements, Ms Avison said: “I heard the bang, bang, bang, so I assumed they were random shots, but I didn’t actually see them fire”. “As soon as I heard the shooting, I ran in,” she said. Ms Avison told the court she initially came out of the house because she heard “all the noise”, including “Graham going off”. “He just screamed, he was a bit of a hero… and kept going,” she said. “I remember telling him to ‘just relax’ and talk to them.” She described the group of visitors as “very noisy” and “all excited and rude”. During his opening statement on Tuesday, Crown Prosecutor Marcus Dyason said there were indications that Mr O’Neil’s friends were panicking. “It’s probably understandable — their friend had just been shot and there was a significant amount of blood coming out of his leg,” he said. For the grievous bodily harm charge, the Crown also relies on the legal alternative of inflicting it recklessly, rather than intentionally. The trial for Judge David Mossop continues. Our journalists work hard to provide local, current news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:



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