DANIEL Paul Bell has been found not guilty of attempted murder, with a jury not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he was the balaclava-clad man who ambushed an ice user and shot him in the buttock at Muswellbrook in 2017.
Despite the acquittal, Mr Bell, 40, who was previously jailed for a maximum of six years for a 2011 armed robbery, is serving a jail term for an unrelated stabbing and will remain behind bars until at least December 6.
Mr Bell had faced a week-long trial in Newcastle District Court accused of shooting Phillip Thomas in the buttock outside a home at Anzac Parade on April 21, 2017.
Mr Thomas gave evidence that he was able to identify Mr Bell as the shooter despite the fact it was nighttime, the lighting was "shithouse", he was under the influence of methylamphetamine and the figure who emerged from the shadows holding a firearm was wearing dark clothing and a balaclava over his face.
Mr Thomas said he was able to positively identify Mr Bell as the shooter because of the masked figure's "demeanour" and "body language".
But after deliberating for about two hours, the jury returned and found Mr Bell not guilty of shoot at with intent to murder, the alternative charge of discharging a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and assault with intent to rob.
The jury, through their blanket acquittals on all three charges, must have been left with some doubt as to the identification of the gunman.
Mr Thomas, who gave colourful and sometimes confrontational evidence, told the jury he had gone to a house in Anzac Parade, Muswellbrook, on April 21, 2017, to buy two "balls" - about seven grams - of methylamphetamine.
He had a "shot" of ice while waiting for the drugs and left the house after completing the transaction.
But about 20 minutes later he was called back to the Muswellbrook house by someone who told him he had taken the wrong bags.
After returning to the house he got out of the car and was confronted by the gunman.
Mr Thomas said the gunman tried to shoot him "point blank" but the gun misfired.
The gunman then reloaded and shot him in the buttock as he tried to flee.
As he was lying on the patio bleeding, Mr Thomas said people came out of the house and grabbed the drugs and cash out of his pockets.
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