A FATHER whose shotgun went off at home after he argued with his daughter has escaped trial.
John Chiotis, of Regency Court in Mickle Trafford, pleaded not guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear and was scheduled to face a trial at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday, July 2.
The complainant, his daughter Georgina, had been reluctant to come to court to give evidence against her 53-year-old father.
And after she retracted a statement to police that she had been “scared” during the incident, prosecutors decided not to pursue the matter.
Gareth Roberts, prosecuting, said: “On February 17, he took a shotgun from a cupboard in the dining room.
“He and his daughter had had an argument earlier about her coming in late and drunk. The gun discharged on the stairs. He was disarmed in the hallway by his wife and son.
“Georgina said, in a statement to police, that she was scared.”
Mr Roberts said he had spoken to Miss Chiotis that morning and asked her whether she was frightened.
“She told me she wasn’t, she never saw the shotgun and went straight to bed as soon as her mother told her to,” he added.
Explaining his decision to offer no evidence, Mr Roberts said: “What the Crown can’t prove is that it wasn’t accidental. It’s not in the interests of justice to treat Georgina as a hostile witness.”
Peter Moss, defending, insisted: “We have the clearest evidence that he went into the bedroom of his wife which is the opposite direction. It was always the defence case that this was an accident.”
Judge Roger Dutton responded: “It was an accident that should never have been allowed to happen.
“Having a loaded firearm in the house is wholly inappropriate whatever the circumstances. It’s the first rule for anyone with a firearm, it’s a basic management issue.”
The judge ordered Chiotis, who runs Broughton Fish Bar in Broughton Hall Road with wife Martha, to be bound over to keep the peace for two years in the sum of £500. That means if he is convicted of an offence over that period, he will be liable to pay the fine. If not, he will pay nothing and will not have the offence on his criminal record.
His firearms licence was also revoked.