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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
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Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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My son (21) was walking my 3 dogs (beagles). About 200 yards

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My son (21) was walking my 3 dogs (beagles). About 200 yards from home a man walked directly towards them on the pavement. One of the dogs jumped up at him as they are friendly and thought that he was paying them attention. The man claimed that the dog had bitten him. My son phoned me and asked me to come outside and talk to the man as he was getting a lot of verbal abuse. I did this, it took a few minutes as I am disabled and have limited mobility. As I was walking towards them I clearly heard the man saying "if you move or do anything then I will kill you". I approached the man and asked him if he was alright, if the bite was bad did he need me to help get him to the hospital for treatment. I was also then treated to mouthfuls of abuse telling me that I was "less than human and not a human being" and that I "did not care what happened here". The man would not answer my repeated questions about his welfare and just kept on "mouthing off". I admit that I lost my temper. I put my left hand against the wall behind him (my walking stick was in my right hand) and shouted into his face "would you please just shut the [email protected]#% up and listen to me as I'm trying to help you". He responded by pushing me backwards over the back of a car! I managed to get myself upright and raised my walking stick in both hands in front of me in a defensive gesture. I did not respond physically to this. I shouted asking him what the hell he thought he was doing. At this point he pulled out his mobile phone and said he was making a call. I said to him "go ahead, call the police I want them here". He responded by saying that he wasn't calling the police but somebody who was going to come and sort you two out (my son and myself). At this point his phone fell to the ground (I don't remember how that happened). I managed to grab the phone and said to him "you are definitely not doing that" and I threw his phone away. He then walked off in the direction of my home and turned down the side street. I shouted after him that it was best if he just went away as he was just a troublemaker. As I followed towards home (I was a bit shocked and in pain as a result of going over the back of the car. My disability is due to a spinal problem) I looked down the side road where he went and saw him rummaging around in the boot of his car and shouting back to me (I'm not sure what he was shouting). He then clearly started to pull up the spare wheel area of his car and seemed to be looking for something (I assumed a tyre iron to come back at me). I walked toward him shouting "don't go getting weapons out, I didn't come out for a fight, but if you start one I will respond". He then started shouted at me again saying "come on then, hit me, you know you want to". Obviously I responded that I wasn't going to hit him and that I never had. At that point the police arrived. After taking witness statements, I have been told that the only charges to be brought are against myself for criminal damage of the telephone. I asked why he wasn't being charged with assault and was told that if he was charged with assault then he would press to have my dogs removed under the dangerous dogs act. I agreed that I would pay to repair or replace his phone, but police are now saying that the letter that he got from his mobile phone supplier saying that the phone cannot be repaired under warranty is an invoice and that I should pay the £500 stated to replace the phone.
Can you please tell me what I should do? How did I end up being the bad guy here? I don't have £500 and I don't want anything to happen to my dogs. Please advise me.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm happy to help with your question today.

Were you actually arrested and interviewed at the station about this matter?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No. Police have been acting as intermediaries. But they have told me in no uncertain terms that if I refuse to replace the phone then I will be arrested for criminal damage. I feel that all I did was an act of self defence. They say he felt threated because my son was there. At no point did my son say or do anything after I arrived at the scene. I wanted to help the guy but have ended up being the bad guy. By the way, the police examined him and he hadn't been bitten by the dog. In fact there wasn't even a paw print on him. So I wouldn't even have been at the scene if he hadn't lied about that!

Thanks. If you are adamant that you did not damage the phone then you must refuse to pay. The police could prosecute for criminal damage and if they do so the matter will go the Magistrates Court and they will decide whether you caused the damage or not. The downside to this is that if you lose, you could be out of pocket by twice as much in fines and costs. The police are unlikely to arrest you now because they have prove that an arrest is necessary. But you could be 'invited' to the station for a voluntary interview. If so you will have a chance to present your account. Once they have your complete story they may decide its not worth pursuing this case. The police are right about the dogs. Regardless of what happened between you and the man either you or your son could be prosecuted for having a dog dangerously out of control in a public place. The offence would be more serious if the man was bitten. They are not dangerous dogs- but any dog owner could be prosecuted for this offence under this law.

Alice H and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi again. I admit that i threw the phone away and that it got damaged as a result of my throwing it. Don't the circumstances of me being put in that situation have any bearing here? I grabbed and threw the phone because of his threat to call somebody to "sort me out" after he had already pushed me over the car and shown to me that he was willing to use violence. I just feel that after he threatened my son, gave a lot of verbal, assaulted me and then threatened me with further violence that my reason for throwing (and damaging) the phone was justifiable. I understand that my dog shouldn't have jumped up at the man (only in playfullness) but surely the dogs wouldn't be taken away if the man out in a complaint? To be honest, these are the questions htat i need answered. Regards. Paul


1. You should pay for the phone if you admit damaging it.

2. In law his behaviour does not justify you damaging the phone.

3. The sooner you settle this the sooner the matter will be closed.

4. If he has acted in a threatening or abusive manner the police could prosecute him for a range of offences including a. Disorderly conduct b. Threatening behaviour c. Common Assault.

5. Unfortunately self defence is not a defence you can use in this case unless you are saying that you caused damage to the phone when he tried to attack you with it.

6.Even if no injury was caused the police could prosecute for having a dog dangerously out of control in public. In reality if no action has been taken thus far its unlikely to be an issue.

7. Its a bitter pill to swallow when you're given a very limited choice. But as a lawyer my advice would be to pay for the replacement value of the phone and put this all down to a very bad experience.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

If I were to push the police to prosecute him for any or all of the ofeences that you have listed, where would that leave me? In either case? paying for the phone or not paying for the phone. I intend to pay for the repair or replacement of the phone but the police are making this very difficult to do. The man in question is a very stroppy individual (the police have described him as thus) and has claimed that the phone is beyond repair and wants me to give him £500 to go to his phone supplier and get a new one. I have asked that the phone be given to me to get repaired and if I find it beyond repair (which I find hard to believe as it was turning on after it was damaged but not usable as the screen was smashed) I will return it with a replacement. To be very honest, if they insist on me paying £500 they will have to arrest me as I don't have £500.

What happens then?

Hi. I'm happy to advise further but please remember to rate previous answers.

There is nothing in law to stop the police from prosecuting both of you.

He could be prosecuted for one or more of the offences I mentioned.

You could be prosecuted for criminal damage.

But this would be a little difficult in practical terms because they would need you both to attend Court once as a defendant and then as a witness. If prosecuted as a defendant you may be less willing to attend as a witness.

So although you could both be prosecuted this rarely happens.

I really think you ought to push your case. You might want to instruct a solicitor to write to the police and push for the other man to be prosecuted and for you to be treated as victim.

It is unlikely that the phone will be given to you to repair. There are too many data protection and security issues involved.

Normally you would pay to have the phone replaced like for like. Unfortunately this may mean that you have to pay the market rate as opposed to a deal that you may find elsewhere.

Happy to discuss further.