Stabbed pet given a ‘voice’ in court

Duncan McCormack ensured that his Jack Russell Skipper had a voice in court.

The Waltham man read out a touching victim impact statement about the dog’s pain, suffering, and continued nervousness after he was stabbed by a friend on July 13 last year.

It was meant to be the Christchurch District Court sentencing session for the man who admitted illtreating Skipper by stabbing him, Raymond Kilgour, 43.

But as the sentencing went ahead, it became clear that what was really needed was a restorative justice meeting between Kilgour, and Mr McCormack, where apologies could be offered.

For some reason that was not clear, restorative justice officials had decided that no meeting should take place. Both parties – who were friends until the late night stabbing of Skipper – were still willing.

Judge Gary MacAskill decided to put the sentencing off until December 20 and suggested that in the meantime Kilgour could pay Mr McCormack’s $1311 vet’s bill.

The pair were drinking together when there was a joking conversation about stabbing 12-year-old Skipper to death because of his age and health. At 11.50pm, Mr McCormack heard a yelp and saw that his pet had been stabbed in the right side of his neck and shoulder.

He still saw mental images of blood spurting from the dog’s neck. “I thought my dog was going to die. It was horrific,” he told the court.

He could not work for two weeks and had very little sleep.

“Skipper required constant reassurance and comforting 24/7,” he said. The dog had bounced back well, but had a scar on his shoulder and was clingy.

Defence counsel Rupert Ward said Kilgour was remorseful, but Mr McCormick said there had been little sign of remorse or empathy.

Judge MacAskill said everyone agreed restorative justice was the appropriate process in this case, even if a meeting had to be arranged by Mr Ward rather than the appointed officials.

He said there was likely to be a sentence of community work, supervision, and reparation.

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