27 April 2023

Shooter allegedly tried to kill man in suburban drive-by, trial hears

| Albert McKnight

Connor John Manns, 25, is fighting a charge of attempted murder in a Supreme Court trial. Photo: Facebook.

A shooter in a drive-by is accused of trying to kill a man on a suburban street after expletive-laden arguments over texts and social media, which included him saying, “I’ll do life for this, IDGAF”.

Connor John Manns is fighting a charge of attempted murder over the early morning shooting in the north-Canberra suburb of Casey on 21 November 2021.

While the 14 jurors in the 25-year-old’s ACT Supreme Court trial heard he admitted firing at the complainant, he claims he had not intended to kill him and was just trying to scare him.

“Mr Manns might not be an angel, but he’s not a killer,” his barrister, James Maher, said in the trial’s opening submissions on Wednesday (26 April).

Jurors heard the incident had its beginnings several days beforehand when Mr Manns was at a house where there was a fight between two women.

Afterwards, he got into an argument with the complainant’s partner, sending her messages like, “What’s it to you who I do and who I don’t hang out with?”

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On 20 November 2021, he accused her of “talking s-t”, and messages he sent her included, “I’m going to make the people you love cry”, and “Your house is going to be chopped in half”.

“I’ll do life for this, IDGAF [I don’t give a f-k],” he said.

Prosecutor Marcus Dyason said the complainant also sent messages to Mr Manns and agreed to meet up with him for what he thought was going to be a fistfight.

It is alleged that Mr Manns was driving a Volkswagen Golf in Casey when he saw the complainant walking on the street; then, while still driving, he fired two shots at him from a .25 calibre pistol.

“He came speeding up the hill and started firing shots at me,” he told jurors.

He said he ran and hid behind a tree while Mr Manns allegedly turned around, drove back and fired a third shot at him before he “took off”.

No shots hit the complainant and he was unharmed. He said he lay under bushes for a while, then went to a friend’s home and called the police.

Mr Dyason alleged that after the shooting, Mr Manns had messaged an associate, saying, “I tried to kill him last night”, and, “I’m so dirty bro, word, his temple was in the sight”.

It is alleged Mr Manns also messaged the complainant, including telling him, “Hahahahaha, I like seeing you dance”.

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Mr Maher said his client admitted firing the gun out his car’s window as he drove, which was “incredibly stupid”, but he said the allegation that he actually intended to kill the complainant or inflict serious injuries on him was very much disputed.

“All he was intending to do was scare [the complainant],” he said.

“He wanted to put a stop to people talking s-t about him.”

He said the associate had messaged Mr Manns to say, “She’s saying you’re talking s-t about all our boys bro”.

Mr Maher urged jurors to consider whether the messages his client sent were “fake bravado” designed to make people take him seriously.

In the complainant’s cross-examination, he said it was his understanding that the argument between his partner and Mr Manns started because the latter had done nothing to stop the fight between the two women at the house in the days prior.

The partner, who had also been there, had intervened.

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Under questioning from Mr Maher, the complainant admitted while Mr Manns had threatened to put “nine holes” in him, which he understood to be a threat to shoot him, he was not concerned.

“You didn’t think Mr Manns was actually going to shoot a gun, did you?” Mr Maher asked.

“No,” the man replied.

In addition to attempted murder, Mr Manns has also been handed alternative charges of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm and intentionally and unlawfully discharging loaded arms.

He has pleaded guilty to a charge of using a carriage service to make threats regarding the messages he sent to the complainant’s partner.

The trial continues before Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson.

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