A man had an “obsession” with a gun that accidentally fired and killed his mother as she tried to move the bag it was hidden in, a Brisbane court has heard.
Cristian Lawlor, 22, was charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of possession of weapons after his 53-year-old mother Giustina Lawlor died at their Taigum home earlier this month.
Police allege Mr Lawlor had left a loaded .22 calibre rifle inside a bag in the garage of his family home, when his mother unwittingly tried to move it to another room and it went off.
She was later found with part of a bullet lodged in her heart.
Her death was originally treated as non-suspicious, but a crime scene was later established, and five days later police charged Mr Lawlor over her death.
His lawyer James Godbolt told a Supreme Court bail hearing it was a “truly tragic case” and Mr Lawlor should be released from custody.
“There are no relevant risks when proper consideration is given to the provisions of bail,” he said.
Father had concerns about gun access
The court heard Mr Lawlor disassembled the gun to clean it the day before he placed it in the bag, but a live round was left inside the chamber.
Mr Lawlor had been suffering from paranoia in the lead up to his mother’s death, had previously shot the firearm in a public place, the court was told.
His father had previously hidden the gun from him due to his mental state, the court heard.
Mr Godbolt argued the “critical” details of the case were “well known” by police, and the matter should be considered as “criminal negligence”.
“”The crown case is clear … The facts are absolutely clear,” he said.
But prosecutor Rana Aldas opposed his bail, telling the court he was an unacceptable risk of interfering with family members who were home at the time the woman died, and he was a safety risk to the public.
“They are highly relevant key crown witnesses,” she said.
Ms Aldas told the court his relationship with his father was “somewhat volatile” and if released would be a safety risk to the public.
“He did make frank admissions in relation to consuming amphetamines and prescription drugs, to the point he can’t remember things for days,” she said.
“On his own admissions he’s carelessly handled, secured and stored a loaded firearm.”
But Mr Godbolt said his client no longer had access to firearms and therefore the risk to the general public was “absolutely minimal”.
“He’s not part of the criminal underworld,” he said.
Justice Soraya Ryan told the court it was clear Mr Lawlor had “some sort of obsession” with the gun and she was concerned about his “dangerously unstable” mental state.
“What bothers me is the reference to your client showing police a recording of him discharging a .22 in a park,” she said.
Justice Ryan adjourned the hearing until further psychological assessments could be made.