What the actual [email protected]#&*¥

What the actual [email protected]#&*¥

A pitbull owner who was jailed after his dog mauled five police officers saw his name cleared on appeal after judges heard it was the police who let the dog out in the first place.

Doberman-pitbull cross Poison was shot dead outside Symieon Robinson-Pierre’s home after the dog savaged officers who had broken down the door to execute a search warrant.

Mr Robinson-Pierre, 26, was jailed for 22 months at Inner London Crown Court in January after he was convicted of three counts of owning a dog dangerously out of control in a public place.

But judges at the Court of Appeal said the way the crown court judge directed the jury effectively prevented Mr Robinson-Pierre, of Stratford, from having a fair trial.

The judge had not told the jury to consider whether Mr Robinson-Pierre had done anything – or failed to do something – which resulted in the dog being out in public, said Lord Justice Pitchford.

“It was common ground at trial that the dog escaped from confinement in a private dwelling by reason of the deliberate act of a third party,” said the judge, who heard the appeal with Mrs Justice Nicola Davies and Judge Peter Collier QC.

The court heard how the attack took place in March 2012 when officers forced their way into Mr Robinson-Pierre’s home.

The four-and-a-half stone dog clamped its jaws on one officer’s thigh inside the house. One police officer hit the animal on the head with a metal battering ram, but to no effect.

The dog then bit three constables in the street before being shot four times in the head by a police marksman.

The scene was later compared to the “the sickbay after the Battle of Trafalgar” by prosecutors, leaving three officers in need of surgery and one scarred for life.

But appeal barrister, Craig Harris, argued that the trial judge erred in telling the jury all the prosecution needed to prove was that the dog acted dangerously in a public place, regardless of the owner’s actions or failures to act.

The judge had simply told the jury to decide whether Mr Robinson-Pierre was the owner, whether Poison was dangerously out of control, whether he caused injury and whether it happened in public.

If that was the right way to approach the trial, then a blameless dog owner could be convicted of a crime if their animal bit someone in a street having escaped by a door left open by burglars, he said.

Giving his ruling, Lord Justice Pitchford said the dog had not been on a leash but was safely secured in a locked house and was only able to escape and attack when police broke down the door.

“It is our view that these facts raised for decision by the jury the issue whether Mr Robinson-Pierre had done or omitted to do anything that contributed to the dog being dangerously out of control in a public place,” he said.

“By his directions to the jury, the learned judge effectively withdrew the issue from their consideration.”

The convictions were quashed, but Mr Robinson-Pierre had already served his sentence.

He had pleaded guilty to being in possession of a prohibited dog.

30 thoughts on “What the actual [email protected]#&*¥”

  1. I’m sorry but what is to stop joe bloggs from opening the door and the dog getting out to savage someone.

    Blame the owner not the breed! Dogs can be trained… and i wouldn’t be suprised if this dog was trained to attack people.

  2. Regardless of the breed, the finding is sound. What if someone let a police dog out of a van? If it bites someone, should the handler be held responsible? No.
    I feel for the injured officers, and I despise those that own prohibited or status dogs, but the logic behind the decision seems correct.

  3. Steve White, where does it say it’s a prohibited dog? It’s a cross breed so I doubt very much it’s prohibited. As a police officer and a dog owner I have to say that I somewhat agree with the appeal verdict. The dog was secure inside it’s house until the police effected entry (presumably by surprise if it was a warrant entry), meanwhile the owner would have been secured by the cops and in no position to prevent it’s escape. It was poor intel that led to this incident by the sound of things. All very unfortunate.

  4. Exactly David. Horrible scenario. But the appeal judgement looks at the larger picture as a whole. I see the sides if it from both. Intel and local knowledge is extremely important in this case and has to be spot on if a dog is present.

  5. So what if this person was never known to police. Was a wanted fellon and same circunstances. Its a joke, you and I could walk into a house or call to a murder and still the fellon would get off. Give it a break chaps, next there wont be warrants on dog owners.

  6. Yes. It could. What contingencies do we do next. Warrants will still occur. Dog bites will still happen. Any dog could turn on a stranger entering a private dwelling – as perceived by the dog protecting its ‘den’ What do we do?
    dangerously out of control in a public place legislation. What if the dog bite occurred inside the house – nothing covers it then either I suppose.

  7. @dan thomas the difference is that a police dog (and any other dog belonging to a responsible owner) IF! it was ‘released into a public area by a third party’ wouldn’t necessarily attack, or if it made to do so could be controlled NOT to, let alone leave THREE people (Police officers or otherwise) needing hospital treatment!!!! So either the owner didn’t bother, & sat back ‘enjoying his particlar perverse version of fun, or was unable to, offence complete!!

    for reference…

  8. Sounds like more of a problem with the legislation than the judge to be honest. They should be able to factor in that it was a prohibited pit-bull type dog.
    I’m assuming that the owner would have been cuffed inside at the time..

    There should be a further offence of owning a prohibited breed that then causes injury and that should be punishable in line with the prohibited breed legislation and also in line with whatever level of assault/injury occurred.

  9. Daniel Lomas, Where it says Pitbull ‘type’ dogs this is to cover variations in the breed such as American Pitbull, Victorian Pitbull, etc. A cross with a Doberman would not be covered as the dog is no longer a Pitbull type any more than it is a Doberman type.

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