England

Student 'bitten by judge's dog' in Northumberland

A judge's dog attacked a student as he sunbathed in his parents' garden, a court heard.

Frederick Becker, 20, was in the garden in Rothbury, Northumberland, in May when the German Shepherd bit his leg, Carlisle Magistrates' Court heard.

It is alleged he was left bleeding and bruised.

Judge Beatrice Bolton, 57, who sits at Newcastle Crown Court, has denied a single charge under section three and four of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The court heard the Sunderland University student's parents shared a garden behind their adjoining property with Judge Bolton.

'Neighbours from hell'

Mr Becker, from Newcastle, said the dog's bite tore through his black tracksuit trousers causing a bruise and a cut to his left leg.

His wound was checked at hospital but did not require treatment.

Mr Malia said he thought the dog was dangerous and he had asked Judge Bolton to keep it out of their part of the garden.

The court heard he had kept a diary of incidents involving the dog and one of the entries read: "The neighbours from hell have returned from holiday".

CCTV footage

Mitigating, Ben Nolan QC said the neighbours had been friends for more than 20 years before the alleged attack.

He said Judge Bolton put up a fence but had been asked by their neighbours to take it down. Mr Malia said the fence was on his land and spoiled the garden.

The court studied CCTV taken from security cameras on the Malia's property.

Forensic image interpreter Andy Laws said it was not possible to tell for certain from the footage if the dog had bitten Mr Becker or whether his injury had been caused in another way.

Judge Bolton is charged with being the owner of a dog and allowing it to enter a place which was not a public place where the dog was not permitted to be, and while the dog was there, there were grounds for reasonable apprehension that it would injure a person.

The trial continues.

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