Section 35A Crimes Act 1900 | Cause Dog to Inflict Harm


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If you own or care for a dog, the law requires you to take certain responsibilities when your pet is under your control to ensure that it does not cause harm to others.

However, if you are charged with causing your dog to inflict harm upon other persons, our dangerous dog specialists can assist you in fighting the charges to ensure that you and your pet get the best possible outcome in your case.

If you are found to have caused or encouraged your dog to harm another person, you could face charges under section 35A of the Crimes Act 1900.

That section says that you can be charged under section 35A if you do either of the following:

  • Where you do any act that causes a dog to inflict grievous bodily harm on another person and you are reckless as to the injury that may be caused to the other person by the act.
  • Where you do any act that causes a dog to inflict actual bodily harm on another person and you are reckless as to the injury that may be caused to the other person by the act.

Grievous bodily harm refers to “really serious harm,” such as a “permanent and serious disfigurement,” for example, broken bones or serious internal injuries.

Where your actions cause your dog to inflict grievous bodily harm on another person, you could face a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

In contrast, actual bodily harm is a less serious form of harm which refers to harm or injuries which are more than merely transient and trifling.

Where you cause a dog to inflict actual bodily harm on another person, the maximum penalty that you could face is 5 years imprisonment.

It’s important to remember that these are maximum penalties and will therefore only apply in the most serious situations.

Furthermore, while you do not have to be the owner of the dog to be charged under this section, the prosecution must prove that you had “control” of the dog at the time of the offence.

You must also be shown to have caused the dog to react in the manner alleged; for example, by provoking the dog, training it to attack persons, or not taking appropriate measures to prevent or stop an attack.

The Legislation

Section 35A of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of “causing dog to inflict grievous bodily harm or actual bodily harm” and reads as follows:

35A Causing dog to inflict grievous bodily harm or actual bodily harm

(1) Cause dog to inflict grievous bodily harm A person who:

(a) has control of a dog, and

(b) does any act that causes the dog to inflict grievous bodily harm on another person, and

(c) is reckless as to the injury that may be caused to a person by the act,

is guilty of an offence. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) Cause dog to inflict actual bodily harm A person who:

(a) has control of a dog, and

(b) does any act that causes the dog to inflict actual bodily harm on another person, and

(c) is reckless as to the injury that may be caused to a person by the act,

is guilty of an offence. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

(3) Alternative finding: If, on the trial of a person for an offence under subsection (1), it appears that grievous bodily harm was not inflicted on the other person but that actual bodily harm was inflicted, the person may be found not guilty of the offence charged but guilty of an offence under subsection (2) and be liable to punishment accordingly.

(4) Doing an act includes omitting to do the act In this section, a reference to the doing of an act includes a reference to omitting to do the act.

 

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

The legal team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers has considerable experience successfully defending clients both ‘dangerous dog’ and criminal matters and can give you the strongest possible defence when it comes to fighting these charges.

Our expert insight and knowledge allows our criminal defence team to identify problems with the prosecution case which may be overlooked by inexperienced ‘general’ lawyers.

By doing so, we are often able to have charges dropped early on by raising these issues with the prosecution.

Alternatively, if the matter proceeds to court, we guarantee representation by one of our senior lawyers; exceptional advocates who have years of experience fighting and winning serious criminal matters.

As Sydney’s Dangerous Dog experts, our lawyers are passionate about animal rights and will fight hard to protect you and your dog from the harsh penalties available under the law.

We can also assist if you simply wish to plead ‘guilty’ to the charges – in these cases, our criminal law experts will prepare persuasive sentencing submissions which focus on ‘mitigating factors’ to reduce the seriousness of your offending.

In doing so, we are able to secure the most lenient outcome in these matters, no matter how serious the charges are.

For the best legal representation in your “cause dog to inflict harm” matter, call Sydney’s leading dangerous dog and criminal law advocates on (02) 9261 8881 and book a FREE first conference to discuss your case.