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GAMEKEEPER JAILED

PUBLISHED: 17:21 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:51 23 August 2010

A GAMEKEEPER and a man who shot a teenage boy leaving him paralysed for life have been jailed for a total of five years. Jonathan Cannon, 56, of Hadlow and Paul Jeffrey, 38, of Aylesford, were sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court last Friday. John Smith,

A GAMEKEEPER and a man who shot a teenage boy leaving him paralysed for life have been jailed for a total of five years.

Jonathan Cannon, 56, of Hadlow and Paul Jeffrey, 38, of Aylesford, were sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court last Friday.

John Smith, of Beechwood Gardens, Meopham was out with friends "lamping" for rabbits near the stately home of Oxon Hoath in Hadlow in April 2006.

The court heard how Mr Smith and his friends were spotted by the gamekeepers and during the chase that followed Jeffrey, encouraged by Cannon, fired a number of shots at the vehicle, one of which hit Mr Smith leaving him paralysed and in a wheelchair.

Judge David Griffith Jones said: "You both took leave of your senses and lost all reason with consequences which I suspect will live with you for the rest of your lives

"John Smith suffered injuries which can only be described as devastating.

"As far as you are concerned Mr Jeffrey, you must bear the heaviest weight of what happened, as you had control of and chose to deploy the rifle

"As for you Mr Cannon, while you didn't fire the rifle it was clear you were the one in charge. You had the capacity to stop what was happening, but you chose not to.

"I would not say his life has been destroyed because by the grace of God he survived. However, there can be no doubt his life has been very substantially impaired as a result of your actions."

Jeffrey pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and was jailed for two years. Cannon, who pleaded not guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm was jailed for three years.

Both men had also pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. They were cleared of both charges.

In passing sentence the judge said he was giving Jeffrey a lower sentence because he had pleaded not guilty to the offence.

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