What led to man being shot with speargun

Up to 60 people face COVID-19 fines after an out-of-control party.
Up to 60 people face COVID-19 fines after an out-of-control party.

A Sydney man has pleaded guilty to reckless wounding after he shot a speargun into the stomach of a guest at his home on Sydney's northern beaches last year.

David Tully, 36, entered a guilty plea to the charge on Monday in the District Court, just under a year after he fired the Sea Hornet gun into John Dunne's abdomen after an argument in North Avalon.

According to a set of agreed facts, Tully had been at home on August 2, 2019, drinking wine and beer with a friend. About 4pm, Mr Dunne headed over to join them.

John Dunne, with a spear from a speargun protruding from his chest, is loaded aboard an ambulance at Avalon. Picture: Sebastien Dekker
John Dunne, with a spear from a speargun protruding from his chest, is loaded aboard an ambulance at Avalon. Picture: Sebastien Dekker


He had known Tully for less than a month. The plan, Mr Dunne told police, was to play guitar and "smoke some bloody dope".

But the afternoon quickly turned sour when Tully repeatedly called Mr Dunne on his drive over to warn him about a random breath testing station along the route.

"You're no(t) f***ing listening with the RBT at North Avalon," Tully yelled.

The man injured by the speargun is loaded aboard the CareFlight rescue helicopter at Avalon. Picture: Sebastien Dekker
The man injured by the speargun is loaded aboard the CareFlight rescue helicopter at Avalon. Picture: Sebastien Dekker


The fussing about the RBT didn't relent when Mr Dunne arrived. Annoyed, Mr Dunne called Tully a "dickhead" and said to him, "I'm gonna pin you down … punch you in the head." He meant it as a joke, he later told police.

But Tully headed indoors and grabbed the speargun, saying "F**k you, you want to threaten me, you come to my house and wants to threaten me."

John Dunne, of Freshwater, who was shot in the chest with a speargun, outside Manly Local Court.
John Dunne, of Freshwater, who was shot in the chest with a speargun, outside Manly Local Court.


Tully emerged from the house and pointed the speargun at Mr Dunne before firing it into his abdomen.

Mr Dunne stumbled to his car, the spear protruding from his stomach, and sped a short distance away where he waved down passers-by who called emergency services. He underwent a laparoscopy to remove it safely.

Tully was arrested the next day. The speargun has never been located.

Subsequent testing of the Sea Hornet model demonstrated it was not possible to discharge the spear without "substantial pressure" on the trigger, the agreed facts said.

The guilty plea was entered before District Court Judge Christopher O'Brien on Monday morning.

Tully, who remains in custody, will be sentenced on October 16.

Originally published as What led to man being shot with speargun



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