A Kuranda man who appeared in Mareeba Magistrates Court on Thursday, September 10 facing charges of Injuring an Animal has had his charges dismissed after the magistrate found the defendant was of unsound mind by reason of insanity.
On June 6, 2019, John Graham Smith, 75, made a phone call to police admitting that he had tied his neighbour’s dog to his back deck.
During proceedings, a Triple-0 call was played to the court, where Mr Smith said he was “fed up” with the dog being on his property and that he had made numerous complaints against the animal to police and local council.
He told the emergency operator he found “a good strong length of rope, formed a noose” and “put it around the dog’s neck,” he said
“I hoisted it up using my handrail on my deck, its feet are off the ground, and it seemed to have a little trouble breathing apparently.”
When the operator asked if he had just “hung the neighbour’s dog” the man confirmed that was correct.
Mr Smith told the court that, that when he tied the dog to the handrail, it jumped up aggressively with its front paws trying to climb up onto the wire lengths forming the balustrade and its back paws were on the wood section of the deck.
Disturbing police vest cam footage was shown in the court of a dog hanging by a rope from the back of a patio at a Kuranda property. A piece of rope was allegedly tied around its neck and its back paws were hanging off the ground. When officers asked Mr Smith if the dog was dead he replied “it was just sleeping”
The two-year-old staffi “Goji’ belonged to neighbour Zacary and Kirstee Lee Mazlin.
Mr Smith told the court that he had no intention of killing the dog and pleaded not guilty claiming he was of unsound mind at the time.
Mr Smith’s defence brought up that their defendant had been suffering from depression, had multiple health issues and was taking a number of medications at the time.
Acting Magistrate Raimund Heggie, handed down his findings on Tuesday, September 15 in the Mareeba Magistrates Court dismissing the charge by finding the defendant was of unsound mind at the time under section 172 of the Mental Health Act.
“Mr Smith did not have the capacity to know what he was doing at the time, or the capacity to control his actions at the time, by reason of psychiatric disorders,” Acting Magistrate Heggie said.
The magistrate also requested that Mr Smith receive further psychological help, dependent on medical documents and reports to be handed in at a later date.
Mr Mazlin said he was now building a new house on his parent’s land at Koah so they could “leave Kuranda and not have to run into Mr Smith” in the street that they shared.