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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69531
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi 2 years ago i was looking after a friends dog when a young

Customer Question

Hi 2 years ago i was looking after a friends dog when a young boy running past startled her and she bit him. She was on a lead and did not have any history of being aggressive so wasn`t muzzled. I received a summons on Sat 22 March to attend a hearing at Bury and Rochdale Magistrates and I am very worried. The charge says she was dangerously out of control in a public place. She wasn`t! I am very unsure of where I stand as it wasn`t even my dog and I can`t afford a fine or criminal record. Please advise. Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The police told the owner of the dog 2 yrs ago that as far as they were concerned this was finished is there any way I can avoid going to court as this is frightening. Also if I plead not guilty will it have to go to crown court and will I be left with a fine I can`t pay and a criminal record

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.

Are you asking if you are guilty?

You accept that this dog did bite?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes the dog did bite but she was not `dangerously out of control` she was on a lead and I don`t know what I could have done to prevent it. The boy ran past shouting and waving his arms, He startled her and I think she jumped to protect me. Will I have a criminal record from this whether I plead guilty or not guilty

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thats bad news. I'm afraid the law is against you.

Have you admitted this to the police?

Also, is this S3[1] and [4] Dangerous Dogs Act?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It was 2 yrs ago and I can`t remember exactly what I put in the statement but I waited for the parents to come back out of the house rather than just running off. The police said at the time the charge was simply how it was written and it couldn`t be changed but they knew she wasn`t out of control. I don`t know how to proceed.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
The police talk nonsense. There is a case on all fours with this called Gedminaite that says that its no defence to say that a dog was on a lead.

The case of Raffiq says that if there was an injury then the dog was out of control.

If you were in charge of this dog at the time then you do not have a defence I'm afraid.

It is surprising that they have taken 2 years to prosecute this though. I imagine it must be the aggravated offence on the facts though so they are not time barred as they would be on the lesser offence.

What the police mean is that the dog is not a dangerous animal per se which is correct of course. However, unfortunately dogs do not need to bit indiscriminately everybody they meet to offend under the Dangerous Dogs Act. The 1991 was always a bad piece of legislation passed as a knee jerk reaction.

Given the age of the offence though I would expect a conditional discharge or a fine. There are some new sentencing guidelines but this would have taken place before their imposition.

Unless there have been other instances with this dog there is no realistic chance of a destruction order.

If they are intent upon prosecuting it though then there is no way around a criminal record although it must be said this isn't really a proper criminal record that says anything about your character. The only way you could avoid it is to be acquitted at court probably because the witness doesn't attend or some other Crown failure.

I'm very sorry but I can only give you truthful information.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69531
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’. You can also bookmark my profile http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-remus2004/

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