Bail refused to man accused of killing puppy

‘I have never in my life come across something as cruel as what’s alleged,’ judge says

Undated handout photo issued by the Police Service of Northern Ireland of 11-week-old Sparky

Undated handout photo issued by the Police Service of Northern Ireland of 11-week-old Sparky

 

Bail has been refused to a man accused of an alleged hammer attack on a 11 week old puppy.

Refusing to release 23-year-old Kyle Keegan on bail, DJ Bernie Kelly told Craigavon Magistrates Court: “I have been in this post for more than 35 years and I have never in my life come across something as cruel as what’s alleged in this case.”

Judge Kelly said she had been sent a photograph of the alleged incident that claimed the life of Sparky the dog “even before the case came to Court”.

“I’m shocked I’m going to say this but [it was done] for someone’s entertainment,” she added.

“He is entitled to the presumption of innocence but your client is in that photograph,” Judge Kelly told defence solicitor Gabriel Ingram.

Keegan, from Gilpins Manor in Lurgan, appeared in court via videolink from Maghaberry prison where he is charged with causing unnecessary suffering to the puppy on February 3rd this year.

No details of the alleged attack have been opened in court but it is understood Keegan was arrested after police were made aware a puppy had been killed in an alleged hammer attack at a flat in Ailsbury Park, Lurgan.

In court on Friday a police officer told Mr Ingram the case against Keegan was based on forensic evidence but the lawyer highlighted the fact that to date, no forensic report has been forthcoming.

The officer added that a text message from a seized mobile phone had been uncovered and that police were conducting enquiries with Facebook.

Judge Kelly interjected she was aware numerous images had appeared on Facebook and while she would not expect “a statement from Mark Zuckerberg, I understand that Facebook can retrieve information if they’re asked.”

The lawyer confirmed the case would eventually be going to the higher Crown Court.

He told Judge Kelly further enquiries were still being made, including a post mortem on the puppy’s remains to establish the cause of death and “whether or not Sparky was placed in the microwave.”

“Some of the exhibits have to go to Edinburgh as there is no one in Northern Ireland to examine animal remains,” said the lawyer.

A police constable said she was objecting to Keegan being freed on bail as there were concerns he would interfere with witnesses and also because “there are concerns for the safety of the defendant.”

Previously, Judge Kelly commented that as regards a potential bail application, the alleged animal killer would need a bail address “somewhere about the Azores” and on Friday she suggested the slightly closer Aran Islands “although I think they’re all inhabited.”

Refusing bail and remanding Keegan back into custody to appear again on April 13th via videolink, the judge said her decision could be appealed in the High Court.

“If they think that they can put conditions in place to protect everyone’s animals let them do that,” said Judge Kelly.