Local activist uses judicial system to win again

| 19/05/2014

(CNS): Sandra Catron has won yet another courtroom victory, despite not yet having obtained a place to complete her articles. The local activist won a civil case on Friday to recoup the costs of her veterinary and medical bills following one of several attacks that she and her pet Shih-Poo, Coco, suffered by a neighbouring dog. Although not yet a fully qualified lawyer, the local activist has won several criminal and civil cases in the courts, demonstrating that the rule of law is available to all. However, even though the magistrate found undeniable evidence of the attacks in this civil action, the director of public prosecutions (DPP) is refusing to pursue a criminal case against the owners, despite Catron’s complaint.

Catron was awarded the $107.25 vet bill and costs. The evidence in the case included a live witness who was present on the night of the attack, as well at CCTV footage, photographs, the vet’s report and a report from the Department of Agriculture.

The defendant, Jacqueline Thompson-Moore, had denied responsibility and accused Catron of releasing the alleged dangerous dog then walking her own dog, which was then attacked. However, CCTV footage demonstrated that Catron and her pet had been victims of an attack.

“I’m pleased with today’s decision,” Catron said. “The court upheld the rule of law and all pet owners should be aware of the liability they have as pet owners. If a ferocious dog is permitted to be on the loose and causes damage to a person or property, they will have to pay for damage. I waited until the third attack to proceed with civil action because it was clear that little was being done to preventthe attacks.

“I am hopeful that now that the DPP’s office will do the right thing with the criminal complaint and charge the defendants. The evidence is strong and this is a rather straightforward case. If they are not prepared to see that justice is done, I would be most obliged for the opportunity to commence the criminal prosecution myself,” she added.

Nevertheless, Catron recently said she felt that the DPP’s decision to reject the police file in this case was because she was the complainant. With several dangerous dogs cases going through the courts in instances with just on attack, Catron claimed there was a bias against her.

“I feel that because I have successfully challenged the judiciary on so many occasions I have become a target,” she had said. “There is no logical explanation for the DPP to decide not to prosecute this case.”

Although satisfied with the civil outcome in what she called an anticipated victory in the courts, Catron also raised concerns about the police officer who had dealt with this particular attack in December last year.

Catron said that during the proceedings the defendant told the court that the officer on the night in question told her that he had examined Coco and there were no injuries to the dog, so she had nothing to worry about. The dog had, however, sustained internal injuries. Catron has since contacted the police commissioner, as she said that at no point did the officer examine her dog and his statement to the owner of the alleged dangerous dog was not appropriate.

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Comments (26)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Sandra, you stand way above the rest.. you can be my attorney anytime a true heavy weight if only you can get your articles.  They say if the mountain won't come to Muhammad, he will bring the mountain to him (paraphrase).  UK look out for Sandra she will become a practicing attorney at law in your country if need be and when she returns back home she won't be needing to work for any firms she will be opening her own and really representing, you go Sandra, making us proud as usual.

    And were are going to hit them with "Natural Justice" .

  2. Anonymous says:

    Go Sandra! Love her! Such a nice lady!

  3. Diogenes says:

    I see the DPP have decided to prosecute herthough – case against her in the Criminal Court mentioned for this week.  She spends more time in court than most articled lawyers, that's for sure. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here in the UK that dog would have been put down! New rules are coming that will hold owners even more accountable.

    In the USA a dog owner who has a dog that kills a person or injures a peron/dog WILL be charged – possiblty with manslaughter the attack is that bad!

    The dog is also put down.

    Cayman needs to get with the time.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is already provision for that in our Law. The problem isn't "Cayman" getting with the times.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I'm grateful that Ms. Catron brings this matters to the fore! It reminds us all that we have rights and neighbors/people with dogs have a responsibility to do the right thing. Otherwise they SHOULD be held accountable in both criminal and civil court. I have no issues with Ms. Catron seeing to get her remedy via the courts – that's her right to do so. If these neighbors were decent people they would have just paid the bill and saved themselves the court fees.

    On the matter of articles it's a sad state of affairs but Ms. Catron is not the only Caymanian in this position. In fact, a guy who came first in his class with honours in the PPC had a hard time finding articles himself. That system needs to be fixed.

    We have more politcians than EVER in he LA at the moment – what are they doing about it? Tara Rivers?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think she stands a chance….. she should get fully qualified! I wish she would

  7. Anonymous says:

    Criminal prosecution and civil suits are not connected. If there are grounds for a criminal case theDPP should persue it. After 4 attacks I would expect no less. In fact, many are I'm court after one incident with a dog so the lack of action by the DPPs office makes no sense in the circumstances. 

    There's also a different burden of proof required for criminal cases – a high evidentiary burden. Given what has been said here seems that should easily be met. 

    Having to pay a dog bill does my hold one accountable to society. That's what criminal prosecution is all about. I think they should me held liable. 

  8. Young Man says:

    Being a public figure in the court system already, is it that no law firm will article her because they don't want to attract the attention? Clearly she's stellar already and knows what she's doing. She should be a shoe-in..

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the powers that be really cared about getting things right they would welcome someone like Catron.   Instead acting petty, the powers that be resent being forced into doing the rightthing.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Go Catron!!! You should have enough time in soon where they should just allow you to get called to the bar! Ridiculous that you can't get a chance.

  11. I am a Bold Faced Lawyer [BFL] says:

    Would it not be appropriate to have the DPP and Sandra exchange places for a year or so, and see how things would change in the office of the DPP!

    I would venture to say,  there would be no cases lost by the crown because of insufficient evidence or other such maladies while sandra is there!

    Sandra For DPP Yeeeeah!

    • Diogenes says:

      Might be a slight conflict of interest in her working for the DPP whilst the DPP is prosecuting her though?

  12. Anonymous says:

    I would think she means "prosecution" and not "judiciary" when she says she had challenged the judiciary.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This lady is brilliant – more so than some of the qualified permit holding lawyers at some of the so called law firms .   Immigration should step in and deny some permits until this lady is articled.

    She deserves chance but like so many other Caymanians, the chances only go to the ex pats.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you'll find that only Caymanians can do articles in Cayman. It is not open to expats unless they are given a very rare Governor's exemption. Sadly, like all countries, there are more graduates than positions available. Just because someone has gone to law school and are Caymanian does not ENTITLE them to a position as an articled clerk. Law students in the States and the UK are not given jobs as trainees just because they are from those countries. They are given them because they are the best candidate for the job. And in these current market conditions even some of the best students are unable to find a job. It's not an expat v Caymanian thing. It's simple supply and demand.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are totally wrong.

        When you have more lawyers on work permits than law school graduates, there is clearly demand that should be filled by local people. I notice you did not refer to the Bahamas though in your comparison, where Bahamians are valued. Until we start to value our local people's abilities we cannot progress as a nation.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Great news Sandra. This is just what they need. Keep doing what you are doing and maybe, just maybe they will get the message and do the right thing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    SO YOU GET THE MONEY SPENT ON VET

    Bills and you still want a criminal charge put. Why? I ask. It seems to me like you never knows when to stop, may be if you calm down a bit you may get articles as itseems like you are intelligent and may one day make a good lawyer. I have followed you in the media and I believe you just need to calm down.
    Getting someone a criminal conviction may mean the ruin nation of that individual or family. All for what a DOG!

    • And Nother Ting says:

      If someone anyone continually let's a dog loose knowing that is has attacked persons before, and does not take measures to prevent further assaults the person(s) are indeed liable for criminal prosecution. So stop chat rassery Ina people head.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't know her and I don't know the case but I think she is trying to get a point across and good for her. It is about time that people in Cayman learn that there are consquences to their actions or inactions, whether it be negligent pet owners of negligent parents!

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe they should have thought about that BEFORE allowing their dog to attack her dog on 4 occassions.

      Yes, it's DOG- but guess what? Dogs are family and loved by many! You should try it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    You go Sandra! Congratulations! Imagine when you're fully qualified! Tour-de-force!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well done. Congrats for standing your grounds. We should take example.

  18. Anonymous says:

    You gooooooooo girl