Phoenix Newitt, 11, when she was woken from her coma after being shot in the face in Deloraine.
Phoenix Newitt, 11, when she was woken from her coma after being shot in the face in Deloraine.

Man guilty of shooting girl sitting in a car

A TASMANIAN man who shot a young girl in the head as she sat in the back of a car has been found guilty of grievous bodily harm.

Nathan Richard Campbell, 26, was on trial over the shooting of then 11-year-old Phoenix Newitt in a quiet street in Deloraine on August 28, 2017.

Campbell pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm. Phoenix required life-saving surgery after being shot in the ear and having bullet fragments lodged in her heart and lungs, Launceston Supreme Court heard during opening submissions on Monday.

She was in the car with her mother Sarah Newitt and two other family members at the time.

The car was driven to the cul-de-sac after a fight between Ms Newitt, Campbell's partner Brearna Mansell and her friend at a nearby Woolworths. Campbell was abused by people in the car before firing the .22-calibre rifle, the court heard.

Crown prosecutor John Ransom said Campbell acted recklessly.

"He saw the likelihood causing grievous bodily harm ... but decided to fire towards the car anyway," he said.

"He was aware people were in the car but was angered by something said about his family." It is not in dispute that Campbell fired the rifle or that Phoenix suffered grievous bodily harm, the court heard.

Defence counsel Evan Hughes said Campbell had not intended to hit Phoenix and had "carefully considered" how he discharged the firearm.

"The fact injury occurred is unfortunate, unintended and unforeseen," Mr Hughes said.

Ms Mansell told the court she punched Ms Newitt in the face during the Woolworths car park fight after noticing she had a pocket knife in her hand. Ms Newitt and Ms Mansell's friend had a long-running feud.

The rifle was found in the garden bed of an aged care facility near the shooting.

Campbell was found guilty on Friday morning.