Shooter apologises to neighbours

THE man accused of shooting a 10 year-old girl in the buttocks with an unregistered air rifle recently apologised to the victim’s family in court.

Traralgon man Mark Bhugwana faced court on Tuesday with regard to the criminal matter and an application for an order preventing him from approaching or harassing the girl, who lives in the property behind the accused.

The victim’s parents and family members were also present at the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court for the mentions hearing.

“I want to say sorry to the family,” Mr Bhugwana told the court.

“My kids play with their kids; they’re good kids, and I am so sorry that it happened.”

Magistrate Peter Mellas granted the girl’s family’s application for the order which will last until 30 September next year, but adjourned the criminal matter to a date in October.

Mr Bhugwana’s bail was extended to that date.

The 29 year-old is facing up to 12 charges related to the incident on 4 September where he allegedly shot the girl in the buttocks as she was playing in the back yard of her home near Watkins Court, Traralgon with her brother.

The girl suffered minor injuries from the incident.

Mr Bhugwana was also charged with being under the influence of alcohol while operating the Shanghai 61 air rifle, which police believe may have been stolen property.