Stoneville man cleared for firing shotgun to protect daughter from being attacked by dog

Stock image.
Stock image.

STONEVILLE resident David Cramer has been found not guilty in Perth Magistrates Court after he fired his shotgun to protect his daughter from being attacked by a neighbour’s dangerous dog on his property in 2016.

Handing down his decision on February 20, Magistrate Andrew Maughan said he believed it was lawful for Mr Cramer to fire a warning shot to scare Tyson, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier owned by Paige Prendergast, off his property.

“In circumstances where he reasonably believed, by reasons of Tyson’s history, that he presented a potential future danger to himself, his daughter and/or his dog in the event he were to remain,” he said.

“Whilst that danger was not immediately present he was entitled, in my view, to prevent any risk in the near future by removing the dog.

“He then acted appropriately by calling the ranger.”

Speaking after the trial, lawyer Ross Williamson said it had been two years of hell for his client.

“On April 27, 2016 David heard his young daughter screaming and dogs fighting,” he said.

“His neighbour’s dog, a declared dangerous dog, had, yet again, escaped from its enclosure next door and was fighting his dog and, he feared, attacking his daughter.

“He grabbed his shotgun and ran to the scene.

“The young woman who owns the dangerous dog was there, trying to get her dog to come to her, but when the dog saw him it went to him.

“He pointed the gun away from the dog and shot 180 degrees away from the dog owner, into trees, perfectly safely, in order to get the dog away from him.”

Mr Williamson said the dog owner ran to her home and rang 000.

“She said that Mr Cramer had pointed the gun at her and said he fired two shots, close to her,” he said.

“The police sent a helicopter into the air and the TRG to the scene.”

Mr Williamson said police did not properly investigate the veracity of the claims by the neighbour.

“Mr Cramer explained to the police what had happened,” he said.

“But they charged him with being armed with an offensive weapon in circumstances likely to cause fear.”

Mr Williamson said after visiting the property with a ballistics expert he was able to prove the neighbour’s story was false.

“We found the wad from the cartridge he had fired and its location proved beyond all possible doubt the dog owner’s story could not be true.

“I subpoenaed documents from the Shire of Mundaring relating to the numerous complaints about the dog owner and her roaming dogs.

“With expert ballistics evidence, and the use of prior inconsistent statements made by the dog owner, I was able to convince the magistrate to reject her story.”

The Shire of Mundaring issued a dangerous dog declaration to Tyson’s owner in January 2016 after receiving four complaints relating to the dog owner.

The owner re-homed the dog outside of the Shire following the incident in April.

WA Police declined to comment.

MORE: WA Police charge alleged serial killer Bradley Robert Edwards with murder of Claremont woman Sarah Spiers

MORE: Woman charged after car drives down steps at Elizabeth Quay

MORE: Perth weather: storms predicted for Saturday and Sunday