Sunday, April 29, 2007

Barking mad !

A teen was taken to court at a cost of £8,000 — for BARKING at two dogs. JPs found Kyle Little guilty of a public order offence and fined him £50, before a judge saw sense and quashed the conviction.

Last night Kyle, 19, said: “I just couldn’t believe it. This has been a joke all the way through.” The youngster, who earlier had been warned by police in Newcastle for being cheeky, yapped at two barking labradors as he walked past a house.

Sgt Douglas Johnston and PC Daniel Peacock arrested him.

Magistrates convicted him of causing harassment, alarm or distress to the dogs’ owner Sunita Vedhara — even though she did not complain. The cost of the case rose as Kyle appealed to Newcastle Crown Court.

But the farce finally came to an end when Judge Beatrice Bolton overturned the ruling, fuming: “The law is not an ass.”

She added: “I think growling or barking at a dog does not amount to an offence, even if a defendant has been told by the police to curb his language.“He obviously DID curb his language and spoke to the dogs rather than continuing to swear at the police.”

Afterwards Kyle, a jobless labourer, told how chocolate labradors Princess and Ruby had bounded up to the gate at Sunita’s home.

He said: “They were both barking their heads off and so I did a daft little growl and went ‘woof, woof’ at them. The next thing I knew I was grabbed by the two police officers who bent my arms up behind my back and handcuffed me. I was in a cell for about five hours.”

Sunita, who has a son Karen, 13, said: “He was messing about being a daft young lad. The dogs weren’t really upset. “We didn’t want him prosecuted, but the police said he was being taken to court, which we found surprising.

A spokesman for Northumberland Police vowed: “We will be looking at what happened and if a mistake has been made we will learn from this.”

But Kyle’s barrister Chris Mitford joked: “I think they were barking up the wrong tree.”

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