Tag Archives: CPS prosecution

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.

Kirkby, Knowsley, Merseyside: Christy Draper and Peter Finnegan

#TheList Christy James Draper, born 14/11/1985, of 6 Dulas Road, Kirkby, Liverpool L32 8TL and Peter James Finnegan, born 06/05/1986, formerly of Mintor Road, Kirkby and as at November 2019 of 36 Browning Street, Bootle, Liverpool L20 4HH – caught on CCTV goading their dogs into ripping apart a tame feral cat; walked free after Crown Prosecution Service offered no case

Prosecution against cat killers Christy Draper and Peter Finnegan collapsed.
Cat killers Christy Draper of Kirkby and Peter Finnegan now of Bootle laughed as the prosecution case against them collapsed

Animal lover Alf White used to look after Tooch, a feral tabby which lived near his workplace in Kirkby for five years and was treated by staff as a pet.

But in January 2011 the tile showroom manager arrived at Knowsley Industrial Park to find the cat’s body on the ground.

After searching through CCTV footage covering the yard, the 54-year-old discovered shocking images showing Tooch being ripped apart by dogs before being kicked by a thug who was watching on.

The local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, published the pictures in an effort to find those responsible and was flooded with callers offering information.

Merseyside police later charged Christy Draper and Peter Finnegan with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

But at a trial which was due to begin on 2 November 2011, prosecutors offered no evidence and the case against the two men was dismissed by District Judge Ian Lomax

He said: “As always it is for the prosecution to prove you are guilty rather than for you to prove you are innocent.

“I do not know what the flaws in the prosecution’s case are but clearly they were spotted and it was decided no evidence is to be offered.

“The case against you is dismissed.”

The two men, wearing tracksuit bottoms and T-shirts, raced from the dock laughing, with one shouting: “You have wasted everyone’s time.”

Mr White, who was waiting to give evidence in the trial, told the ECHO: “I am absolutely fuming. I am shaking with rage. I cannot get my head straight.

“The man from the Crown Prosecution Service told me although they had the CCTV, it was not of the front of the building, only the side, so they could not prove our Tooch was alive when the dogs got hold of her.

“Would you be alive after four dogs got hold of you? I told him she was alive 29 minutes before the attack because I visited her to bring her a blanket and say goodnight.

“But he said that was not in the evidence.”

Mr White, who paid £360 for a vet to fix Tooch’s teeth, said: “You can see another cat, Sylvie, on the video.

“She was lucky to survive.

“She has been moved now to Liverpool Cat Sanctuary so at least now she will be safe.”

The ECHO asked the CPS why the trial collapsed and why it took until the trial date to decide it had no evidence but it failed to respond.

Liverpool Echo
Daily Mail