Alleged puppy killing case most cruel judge has seen in her career

A senior District Judge declared today (Friday, March 16) that in her almost 40 year legal career 'I have never in my life come across something as cruel as what's alleged' in the case against Kyle Keegan, accused of killing an 11-week-old puppy.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 12:26 pm
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 12:30 pm
PACEMAKER BELFAST 07/02/2018 Kyle Keegan appears at Craigavon Court on Wednesday, He is charged with causing unnecessary suffering to animals, It is in relation to 11-week old puppy (Sparky) , who had been killed with a hammer in the Ailsbury Park area of Lurgan on Monday evening. Photo Pacemaker Press

Refusing to release the 23-year-old 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.”

Revealing how she had been sent a photograph of the alleged incident which claimed the life of Sparky the dog “even before the case came to Court such is the outrage,” the judge added that “I’m shocked I’m going to say this but [it was done] for someone’s entertainment.”

“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 3 February 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 that a puppy had been killed in an alleged hammer attack at a flat in Ailsbury Park, Lurgan.

In court today 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 when it was triaged 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.”

She told the prosecuting lawyer although she accepted she could not direct the PPS where the case was ultimately dealt with or what charges should be laid against Keegan, she did not want the case to remain in the petty sessions.

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 NI to examine animal remains,” said the lawyer.

The police constable said she was objecting to Keegan being freed on bail as there were concerns he would interfere with witnesses as many of them are known to Keegan 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 today she suggested the slightly closer Arran Islands “although I think they’re all inhabited.”

Mr Ingram confirmed the proposed bail address was Keegan’s home at Gilpins Manor but Judge Kelly said that “would not be suitable.”

Refusing bail and remanding Keegan back into custody to appear again on April 13 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.