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Shooting victim claims police have threatened to charge him if he doesn't name gunman

North Belfast man John Carleton, who is a victim of a paramilitary shooting, claims he is being pressurised by the PSNI. Picture Mal McCann.

THE victim of a paramilitary-style shooting has claimed police have threatened to charge him with withholding information for refusing to say who shot him.

John Carleton, who has lodged a complaint to the Police Ombudsman, claims he did not see who carried out the gun attack.

But the north Belfast man said police have been pressuring him since to name a well-known west Belfast republican.

Mr Carleton was shot in the left leg during the October 2013 attack in west Belfast.

While no group claimed the shooting it is thought to have been carried out by Oglaigh na hEireann.

Mr Carleton, who did not make a statement to police, said he was pushed to the ground from behind and couldn't identify the gunman.

However he said while being treated in hospital detectives cut the clothes from his body and took them away for evidence. They returned three days later and asked him to make a statement.

Mr Carleton, who suffers from anxiety and has ongoing health problems as a result of the gun attack, said he has since come under renewed pressure to name a known west Belfast republican, currently awaiting trial on paramilitary-related offences, as being responsible for the shooting.

He claims police warned him he would be charged with withholding information if he didn't name the man as his attacker - a charge that can carry a jail sentence.

Mr Carleton, who is in his 40s, has reported his concerns to the Police Ombudsman.

His lawyer said that due to his client's "vulnerability" he would be asking a for a meeting with police.

"I'm living in constant fear of what's going to happen next. They (PSNI) have been phoning me since October last year. I've been given numbers to ring and they've stopped me and even rang the house. The pressure is getting to me.

"I didn't see who shot me, I was pushed to the ground and now I've been told I'll be charged with withholding information if I don't name this person.

"I'm the victim of a shooting and yet I'm the one being threatened with jail," he added.

Mr Carleton's solicitors KRW Law said "We are aware Mr Carleton has lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman...This is clearly a sensitive and difficult position for a vulnerable client and to that end we are contacting police to meet and discuss the matter."

The PSNI were unable to comment on the matter.

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