Man’s dog ‘did not attack park warden’

A man who faced trial for having an “out of control dog” has been cleared of the charges.

John Hirst, 57, of Beverley Road, west Hull, was arrested after a park warden in Pearson Park accused him of provoking his golden retriever, named Rocky, to attack him.

Mr Hirst was due to stand trial at Hull Crown Court on Monday after denying charges of common assault and having a dog which is dangerously out of control.

However, Judge Roger Thorn QC returned verdicts of not guilty in the case after the prosecution offered no evidence.

Mr Hirst said he was pleased he had won the case, as losing it could have resulted in Rocky being put down.

He said: “They had asked for a destruction order, but all the evidence suggested he wasn’t dangerous.

“He is a loyal friend and companion. There was no way I was going to let them put a dog down who wasn’t dangerous.”

The charges related to an incident on January 2 this year.

Mr Hirst said he was walking Rocky in the park, which he does three times every day.

He said the warden had started shouting at Mr Hirst because he had let Rocky off his lead, and the dog then started to bark.

“The warden started shouting at him and waving his litter picker about and the dog started barking at him,” said Mr Hirst.

“He then got on his radio and called for backup, saying he was being attacked.”

Rocky had to undergo an expert assessment to see whether he was dangerous as part of the case.

Guy Richardson, a dog behaviourist with 32 years’ experience, based at West Lancashire Canine Centre in Liverpool, told the Mail: “Mr Hirst was brought to court unfairly as his dog is not a dangerous dog at all.”

Following his acquittal Mr Hirst was bound over to keep the peace for 12 months.

Mr Hirst, a former prisoner, fought a battle from behind bars that allowed prisoners the right to vote.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1980 after he admitted the manslaughter of his landlady.

In 2005, his campaign saw the European Court of Human Rights rule a blanket ban on voting breached prisoners’ human rights.

Hull City Council declined to comment on the case.

UPDATE: Comments left at the online site…

Comments (10)

  • Two things spring to mind here.
    1. If it was a black labrador would the colour have been metioned, no because we are not allowed to mention colours unless it is white.
    2. What has his history got to do with the story, if he was an ethnic rapist with a history of violence this wouldn’t have been metioned.
    Politically correct, Hull
    commented on 12-Sep-2008 16:40
  • I agree with Sally
    Andrew, West Hull
    commented on 12-Sep-2008 16:14
  • Have you googled it Sally, unbelievable reading.

    Poor dog…….

    Peter, SA
    commented on 12-Sep-2008 15:33
  • Why was this man in the park with his dog anyway – if he was given a life sentance he should still be in bloody jail, his landlady can’t walk her dog in a nice park so why should he be free to do so???
    Sally, Nth Bransholme
    commented on 12-Sep-2008 13:53
  • This story brings back bad memories for me. I remember when I was sat in the park reading one of my thick books with big words and resourceful insight when I was bitten by a Jack Russell. I yelped out in pain and ran across the park with this blood sucking dog chasing me. The dog’s owner, a frail old man with a bald head called Cyril, chased after the errant canine and before you know it we looked like we were in a scene from Benny Hill. It didn’t help when the local nurses college broke for lunch and then they all started chasing Cyril. Looking back I can laugh about it but I wasn’t laughing at the time I can tell you!!
    Round Head, Hull
    commented on 12-Sep-2008 13:19
  • I thought i recognised this guy yep the one who prisoners to vote, I think this guy knows the law inside and out, No doubt this case he took to court will have been payed by the legal aid system!
    Mick, Hull
    commented on 12-Sep-2008 12:50
  • Mr Hirst should have been put down himself as soon as he started spouting all that rubbish about prisoners having rights.
    Mark, Hessle
    commented on 12-Sep-2008 12:34
  • I’ve larked about with Rocky lots of times in the park and he’s fab! We chase each other and have a ball… I’m glad he’s not off to Rainbow Bridge just yet… I’d miss him!
    Jezbo, Hull
    commented on 12-Sep-2008 11:41
  • Isn’t it always the case whenever a big dog eats a child that the owner says “I can’t believe it, he is a big softy, he has never bitten anyone before” or some other rubbish. It seems that dogs snap every now and then without warning so should be kept locked up.
    Jon, Denver
    commented on 12-Sep-2008 11:19
  • Another waste of tax payers money by the council yet again, I wonder what the cost was to take this to court??
    Mick, Hull
    commented on 12-Sep-2008 08:10
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6 Responses to “Man’s dog ‘did not attack park warden’”

  1. Nana Says:

    Congratulations, Mr. Hirst. You fought a good battle. Rocky is a lucky guy.

  2. Projektion Says:

    Pooooooor little old man…;-D
    Es interessiert kein Schwein, was Sie hier zum Besten geben !!

  3. Jean Baker Says:

    Jon Denver,

    Many people aren’t fit to own dogs, John clearly isn’t one of them.
    The ‘litter warden’ was out to goad and make trouble at taxpayers’ cost.

  4. Projektion Says:

    Ohh, little old man john Hirsterle, I love your comments so muuuuuuch!
    A lot of kissssss for you! You are a very (p)sy(ch)mpatical und sooo intelligent Prayer. I looooove You so! Bussi für Dich, besonders für den geistreichen Artikel, that K. had ki**ed her lovely daughter.
    Ohhhh, You are so a great “Crycolatonusky” !!! LOvE4Evvver!
    Cincerely! FUBB

  5. Jean Baker Says:

    round head, Hull,

    I expect you, unlike the goading litter picker, took yourself to Casualty for tetanus and to medically log the injuries in case of complications. Sounds if you needed sutures as well. Dogs seldom bite for no reason; those that do invarialy have ‘problem’ owners.

  6. Jean Baker Says:

    mark, hessle,

    Believe it or not, even captives in Guantamo Bay have basic human rights. Despot Leaders chose to ignore them. Evil thing power …..

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