The scene in South Grafton where a shot was fired in October 2016.
The scene in South Grafton where a shot was fired in October 2016. Tim Howard

Shooter likely to spend 'years' behind bars

By Sam McKeith

A SOUTH Grafton man convicted of firing a gun at a home in Grafton in 2016 is likely to spent "years not months” behind bars, a court has heard.

Jason Michael Stewart, 25, was in August found guilty of firing at a dwelling-house with disregard for safety in relation to a shooting in the northern NSW town in October 2016.

Stewart was found to have discharged the firearm, with the bullet striking a wall while several people were at home.

At a sentence hearing on Thursday, Acting Judge Colin O'Connor said it was likely that Stewart would receive a jail term of "years not months” for the offence.

"It's a serious matter,” the judge told the District Court in Sydney.

He said there would be "difficulty in finding” Stewart had good prospects of rehabilitation, but noted the offender was still a young man with "some light at the end of the tunnel”.

The court was told that Stewart's offending fell in the middle or upper range because of the bullet hitting the wall at chest height, the chance of ricochet, and several people being "at risk”.

It also heard that a young child was "somewhere in the house” when the shot was fired.

While it would not be Stewart's first custodial sentence, it was likely to be his lengthiest and he had already spent 695 days behind bars, the court was also told.

In argument, Stewart's defence barrister, Gemunu Kumarasinhe, applied for the matter to be adjourned, saying his client had seen a psychologist but that a report was still pending.

"He was seen by a psychologist ... we don't have that report still,” he told the court.

Crown prosecutor Jonathan Baxter-Wright described an adjournment as "regrettable”.

"It's a wasted trip to Sydney for nothing,” he said.

Stewart, dressed in prison greens, showed little emotion in the dock during the hearing.

Acting Judge O'Connor granted the adjournment and relisted the matter for December 10.