Child, 5, shot with air rifle in ‘reckless’ act

A MAN who shot a young child at a Monkland property has been convicted of assault occasioning bodily harm.

On Tuesday, Gympie Magistrates Court heard Joshua Jeremy Winkley, 23, of Woolooga, was shooting paper bullets from an air rifle when things went awry.

The court heard a five-year-old child had been told to go away while Winkley was shooting the gun, which he found in forestry at Glastonbury.

Winkley didn't hear the child come back and as Winkley shot another round, the bullet's direction curved with the wind and landed a blow in the child's stomach.

The paper bullet winded the youngster as he fell to the ground in tears and caused a small blister on his stomach.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Michael Phillips said the offence could easily have landed Winkley in jail as assault occasioning bodily harm offences coupled with weapons offences bring an automatic 15 months jail.

After withdrawing a charge of unlawfully possessing a category D, H or R weapon against Winkley, the prosecutor explained legislation mandating a jail term was not targeted at offenders like Winkley.

"It's not in the public interest to send this defendant to jail," Sgt Phillips said, but he did label Winkley's actions "extremely reckless and stupid" and asked Magistrate Maxine Baldwin for a suitable deterrent sentence.

"If you're going to do things of this nature you will be punished," Sgt Phillips said.

Winkley's defence solicitor Chris Anderson said the shooting was accidental and that Winkley didn't pursue a plea of not guilty to save the child the trauma of a trial.

Mrs Baldwin said "it was one of those stupid things that happen, but our jails are full of good people who have made a stupid mistake".

Winkley, who had no criminal history, was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond with $1000 recognisance.

Gympie Times


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