A man accused of twice strangling a dog has been told he should “consider himself lucky” to have been released on bail.
Eddis Conn appeared today via video link from prison at Belfast High Court. Mr Justice Huddleston told the 54-year-old, given the nature of the charges against him, that he should “consider himself fortunate to be acquitted on bail…. There is no doubt about that.”
Conn, from Deans Road in Lurgan, spent the weekend in custody and was accused of attempting to harm a police dog and attacking and defying police on September 20 this year.
Prosecutor Higgins told the court how those charges arose as police attempted to execute a warrant issued against Conn when he was convicted in his absence in June of traffic offenses and disorderly conduct at the hospital.
Although officers routinely called addresses linked to Conn and advised his family to tell him to contact the police or his attorney, their efforts proved fruitless until police last Thursday found him driving a telescopic handler discovered in a field off the Coharra Road in Portadown.
Seeing police, Conn drove to the other side of the field before jumping out of the telehandler and running away, climbing over a barbed wire fence and “what appeared to be an electric fence” into an adjacent orchard.
“After a long search he was found with a police dog at the base of an apple tree in the orchard and he aggressively approached the police, challenging the handler with his fists clenched and then beginning to approach the officer,” Mr Higgins said.
The court heard that when the officer released the dog, the officer “managed to block the dog’s first punch and then began choking the dog with his arms and then tossing him to one side.”
Fearing for the safety of himself and the dog, the officer used pepper spray, but it had no effect, and when Conn “punched” the officers, his dog tried to intervene, but Conn “tried to strangle the dog a second time.”
After pressing his 911 button, other officers came to the rescue and Conn was eventually restrained.
Describing it as “obviously a totally lawless picture being painted”, Mr Higgins said there were numerous objections to Conn’s release on bail as he failed to show up for his earlier appearance in June and was “actively dodging” the police even though he knew they were looking for him.
In addition, Conn showed “complete disregard for the law” and used force when police attempted to execute the warrant. So if he were released, “the police themselves would be in danger monitoring his bail.”
Defense attorney Damien Halleron admitted that “I cannot excuse Mr Conn’s behavior, all I can say is that he claims he was unaware or unaware of his convictions” or that the police were looking for him.
He submitted that if Conn had known, he would have made arrangements to execute the warrant and would not have been reached in the alleged manner.
Mr Halleron stressed that Conn’s family, as farmers and contractors, helped care for his 140 cattle that will soon have to come off the fields and argued bail conditions could be put in place.
Mr Justice Huddleston posted bail of £2,000 with a bond and ordered Conn to stay at home, observe a curfew with an electronic tag and report to police four times a week.
In addition, Conn is also prohibited from being in another private vehicle and drinking or drinking alcohol.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/man-54-accused-of-twice-strangling-police-dog-during-arrest-told-to-consider-himself-lucky-as-he-gets-bail-42018534.html The man, 54, who is accused of twice strangling a police dog during arrest, said he should be “lucky” if he gets bail