Free­dom granted

North­ern Penin­sula man granted bail, pend­ing ap­peal of house ar­rest for dog shoot­ing

Northern Pen - - Front Page - BY GARY KEAN THE WESTERN STAR

The North­ern Penin­sula man who shot and killed a dog that had at­tacked his pet has had his sen­tence of house ar­rest put on hold for now.

Ge­orge Payne of Par­sons Pond was sen­tenced to serve six months of house ar­rest in late July after be­ing found guilty at trial ear­lier this year for the in­ci­dent in May 2017.

Judge Wayne Gor­man of the pro­vin­cial court in Corner Brook found the 79-year-old busi­ness­man guilty of three of­fences, namely un­law­fully killing a dog, care­less use of a firearm and pos­ses­sion of a firearm with­out be­ing the holder of a li­cence.

The court heard Payne had re­trieved a ri­fle not owned by him and then went look­ing for the dog that had just at­tacked his pet dog. There was also ev­i­dence given that the dog had pre­vi­ously at­tacked and killed an­other of Payne’s dogs.

Payne found the dog in a res­i­den­tial area and shot it while some chil­dren played in the vicin­ity.

Payne’s lawyer, Jim Ben­nett, has filed an ap­peal of the con­vic­tions and the sen­tence in the Supreme Court of New­found­land and Labrador. Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments filed by Ben­nett, the de­fence feels there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to sup­port the con­vic­tions, and the sen­tence was un­duly harsh for a man of Payne’s age and health.

The ap­peal is set to be heard Dec. 10.

Ben­nett re­cently filed an ap­pli­ca­tion to grant Payne bail while await­ing the ap­peal. Supreme Court Jus­tice Brian Furey heard ar­gu­ments on the ap­pli­ca­tion and granted it.

The Crown op­posed grant­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion, call­ing the ap­peal friv­o­lous and not­ing Payne has not ex­pressed any re­morse for killing the dog and seems to think the law should not ap­ply to him in this case. The Crown also ar­gued that the con­di­tions of Payne’s house ar­rest do not con­sti­tute an un­war­ranted de­pri­va­tion of his lib­erty.

In grant­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion, Furey said the ap­peal is not friv­o­lous and be­lieves Payne to be some­one who will abide by the or­ders of the court should he vi­o­late any bail con­di­tions. He also ruled be­ing un­der house ar­rest does re­strict Payne’s daily ac­tiv­i­ties and per­mit­ting him more free­dom for the in­terim would not be contrary to the pub­lic in­ter­est.

Per­haps most im­por­tantly, the judge noted that deny­ing Payne’s ap­pli­ca­tion could ac­tu­ally have the ef­fect of him hav­ing served out his en­tire six-month con­di­tional sen­tence by the time the ap­peal is heard and de­cided on by the courts.

Furey did place con­di­tions on Payne’s re­lease, in­clud­ing hav­ing no con­tact with cer­tain other peo­ple in­volved in the case, stay­ing within the ge­o­graph­i­cal ju­ris­dic­tion of the court and not pos­sess­ing any weapons.

GARY KEAN / THE WESTERN STAR

Ge­orge Payne of Par­sons Pond, who had been serv­ing house ar­rest for shoot­ing a dog, en­ters the Supreme Court of New­found­land and Labrador for a de­ci­sion on his ap­pli­ca­tion for bail Mon­day morn­ing.

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