Newbury, Berkshire: Robert Black

#TheList Robert A Black, born 29/08/1968, of 7 Parsons Close, Newbury RG14 5LU – captured on CCTV punching his dog repeatedly

Dog abuser Robert Black of Newbury  was caught on camera punching his pet dog repeatedly in the face

Career criminal Robert Black, who has multiple previous convictions for shoplifting, was found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal after CCTV caught him punching his dog five times.

In the video Black can be seen viciously attacking the animal in Victoria Park in Newbury.

After he struck the dog five times in the face, he put the dog on a lead and walked off through the park.

Police were called and arrested Black.

They also took both his dogs under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Both have since been rehomed. The animal he punched was not injured in the attack.

Investigating officer, PC David Burleigh said: “Black demonstrated significant cruelty to his dog by punching it several times in the face, with no concern for its welfare.

“This behaviour is clearly totally unacceptable for a pet owner and I am pleased that not only has he received a prison sentence for his actions, but that he has been banned from owning animals for the next 10 years.

“We take reports such as these seriously and will look to investigate and take action against anyone who carries out this type of offence.”

Sentencing: jailed for 22 weeks; ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge. Banned from owning animals for 10 years.

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Update 21/12/2019: KentLive reports that Black’s custodial sentence has been reduced to just 17 weeks following an appeal.

Black’s lawyer, Steve Molloy of Charles Hoile Solicitors in Newbury argued that his client’s behaviour “was his rather clumsy attempt to separate [the dogs] adding that: “There’s no suggestion the dogs were undernourished or routinely ill-treated. This was, in my submission, a one-off incident. It’s not in the league of dogfighting or dog baiting.”

He suggested the district judge who sentenced Black had erred in law by categorising the offence as “higher culpability”.

Molloy conceded that his client had been subject to a suspended prison sentence at the time, but said this was for a totally unrelated offence.

He concluded: “Mr Black has now served a custodial sentence of some weeks and, in my respectful submission, the proper sentence would be one of time served.”

That would have allowed Black to walk free and spend Christmas with his partner, who accompanied him to court.

But Judge Richard Wheeler pointed to Black’s 288 previous convictions for offences including battery, burglary, theft and being drunk and disorderly.

He said Black’s actions had breached the terms of a suspended prison sentence order.

Judge Wheeler added: “I’m perfectly satisfied it was correct in law to activate the five-week suspended sentence and to add a consecutive sentence for the current offence.”

He told Black: “You committed this offence less than a month after the suspended sentence and you have a lengthy and extremely depressing record.

“But I’m persuaded to allow the appeal to this extent: while the five blows can be characterised as a deliberate and gratuitous attempt to cause harm to the dog, it was lesser harm, not greater harm. There was no prolonged suffering.”

The judge ruled that 12 weeks’ imprisonment, rather than 18, should have been added consecutively to the five-week suspended sentence, reducing the total to 17 weeks rather than 22.

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