‘So tragic’: Man jailed for shooting brother in face
A Sunshine Coast man was "very lucky indeed" that he only shattered three of his brother's teeth when he shot him in the face after a heated argument.
Mark Spencer, 38, was supported by his parents as he appeared in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to shooting his older brother Cheyne Livett, 40, at a Sunshine Coast property on February 2 last year.
Mr Livett miraculously survived the shooting but tragically died a year later in unrelated circumstances.
"It's so tragic for the parents," Justice Elizabeth Wilson said.
"They've lost one son … and another is in custody for shooting that brother."
Crown prosecutor William Slack said Spencer was staying at his parents' Curramore property while they were away on holidays when his older brother showed up at the house.
The court heard the pair got into a heated argument in the driveway after Mr Livett refused to leave the property.
"While the complainant was pacing the driveway in an intimidating manner the defendant said 'are you going to make me shoot you?'," Mr Slack said.
Mr Slack said Spencer went inside to get a rifle, then fired it from the front of the car through the windscreen into the driver's seat where his brother was sitting.
Barrister Joseph Jacob said it was intended to be a warning shot, but instead the bullet entered through Mr Livett's top lip and fractured his three front teeth.
"While he deliberately fired the gun, it's not alleged he aimed at him or intended to strike him," Mr Jacob said.
"Mr Spencer then called for help, he rendered assistance and offered to drive his brother to hospital. A witness who was present after the shooting said he was crying as he was trying to help his brother."
Mr Jacob said Spencer, who was born in Redcliffe, was filled with remorse and was now "hounded by the death" of Mr Livett.
He gave the court a number of letters written by Spencer's parents and other family members who were in support of his release.
The court heard the Crown could not prove that Spencer intended to shoot his brother, only that he fired it at the driver's side of the car where Mr Livett was sitting.
Queensland Police arrested Spencer at his Woodford property and he was initially charged with attempted murder, but this was later downgraded to the lesser charge of grievous bodily harm.
Spencer also pleaded guilty to a spate of other crimes committed while at large, including dangerous operation of a vehicle with a circumstance of aggravation, obtaining identity information and 18 summary offences.
The court was told that in February, Spencer was driving under the influence of drugs when he began speeding in the wrong direction along the Bruce Highway causing other motorists to take evasive action.
Justice Wilson said while there was no evidence that Spencer had fired directly at his brother, the harm caused was "foreseeable as a possible consequence".
Spencer was sentenced to five and a half years' jail and was disqualified from driving for two years.
After spending more than 20 months on remand, he will be eligible for parole from today.
*If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about mental illness contact BeyondBlue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
Originally published as 'So tragic': Man jailed for shooting brother in face