The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Well, What Would You Do?

From Sky News:-
A woman is facing jail after admitting killing her boyfriend's cat by putting it in a washing machine.
Diane Hannon, 42, put the deaf pussy, called Paws, on a full cycle after arguing with her partner.
The six-year-old cat suffered a massive heart attack, severe burns and loss of fur during the ordeal.
Hannon, from Old Colwyn, in north Wales, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and cruelly ill-treating an animal at Llandudno Magistrates Court.
The court heard Hannon was cat-sitting at her boyfriend Duncan Carthy's flat while he visited his son on July 8 this year.
The pair had argued about Mr Carthy's ex-wife and children from his first marriage.
Glen Murphy, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: "Duncan Carthy called Miss Hannon and asked if the cat was all right, and she replied, 'I hate you. No, I've killed it.'"
Peter Brown, defending, said his client suffered from depression and had described her relationship with Mr Carthy as abusive.
He said: "This is an upsetting case, and whatever happens, Miss Hannon has to live with what she did that day."
Magistrates warned Miss Hannon that she may face prison.
They adjourned the case for reports until January 10
If you were due to sit on that day, how would you sentence this? There are a number of issues and principles here. As ever, there is no right or wrong answer.

(Later) I imagine that she was convicted under this law:-
The first Protection of Animals Act was passed in 1911. The Act makes it an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animal. It is an offence to:
cruelly beat, kick, ill-treat, over-drive, over-load, torture, infuriate, or terrify any animal;
cause unnecessary suffering through transportation;
take part in the fighting or baiting of an animal;
administer poisonous or injurious substances without good reason;
permit operations to be carried out without due care and humanity;
cause unnecessary suffering to an animal that is being destroyed to provide food for mankind; and
the coursing and hunting of a captive animal that is liberated in an injured, mutilated or exhausted condition, or the coursing and hunting of a captive animal in an enclosed space from which it has no reasonable chance of escape.
Unnecessary suffering can be caused by acts of commission and acts of omission.
If the owner of the animals is convicted, the court may, should it think fit, deprive the owner of the ownership of the animal. Where the court is satisfied that it would be cruel to keep the animal alive, it may direct that the animal be destroyed.
Those convicted of the most serious offences under the 1911 Act can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine of £5,000, or both.