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