Convicted in absentia, man is sentenced to prison
PORTO ALEGRE, Rio Grande do Sul – A court in the State of Rio Grande do Sul sentenced a man to prison for beating his dog to death with an iron bar. The court sentenced the man to five months and ten days imprisonment and fined him.
In July 2008, Military Police responded to a report of a disturbance, arrived at the man’s home and discovered the dead dog. The animal showed signs of trauma to the head. On questioning, the man said that he had been the victim of a theft and that the dog did nothing to stop it. Angered, he killed the dog with repeated blows to the head with an iron bar.
The man did not show up in court even though he was subpoenaed. He was convicted in absentia. The defense appealed the verdict, claiming insufficient evidence because the conviction was based on the word of the policeman who responded to the call and did not witness the crime.
The jurist hearing the man’s appeal, Judge Cristina Pereira Gonzales, deemed the evidence sufficient to convict the owner of killing his animal. She pointed out that the police report describes the crime and that the PM had corroborating reports from witnesses. She emphasized that the testimony of the officers have evidentiary value when there is no proven reason to falsely accuse the defendant.
The judge also stressed that the defendant waived his right to give his version of what happened when he stopped coming to court.
The Brazilian Federal Constitution gives broad rights to animals who have a fundamental right to protection from exploitation and violence.
Brazilian online news source: O Globo