Thursday, 8 January 2009
RSPCA PROSECUTE THE MENTALLY ILL
WHERE IS THE PUBLIC INTEREST ? DO PROSECUTIONS OF THIS NATURE COMPLY WITH THE CPS FULL CODE TEST ?
Should the mentally ill be prosecuted by the RSPCA when they are cruel to animals ?
This is a very dificult issue - consider this case. A woman with a history of mental illness strangled two dogs in her bath. At Swansea Magistrates Court John Tarrant, for the RSPCA, said that she “indicated that voices told her to do so.” Denise Clement, 37, of Portmead, had meant to drown both dogs but asphyxiated them by applying pressure to their necks.
She told a mental health nurse what she had done during a visit to hospital last July. The case against her had been delayed for several hours while a community psychiatrist gauged whether she was competent to plead.
She later admitted two charges of causing unnecessary harm to two crossbreed dogs, named Buster and Levi, by killing them in an inappropriate manner, knowing that the act would do so.
The two acts were carried out on July 21 in the bathroom of her home. Mr Tarrant said an RSPCA officer dispatched to the house found the dead dogs in a bath of water. It was later established the dogs had been asphyxiated, rather than drowned, after pressure had been applied to their necks. Mark Davies, defending, said he was satisfied Clement was fit to plead to the charges, but said she suffered from serious psychiatric problems including schizophrenia.
He added: "We accept everything the prosecution say." District judge Richard Williams adjourned the case for four weeks for sentencing reports to be compiled.
Clement was released on conditional bail.
Clearly there has been a failure here by the "community´ but is there a point to this prosecution ?