COURT: Dog dispute led to scuffle with police officers

High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.
High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.

A drunk Buxton man turned on a police officer who was trying to resolve a domestic dispute over a dog, a court heard.

Matthew James Johnston, 26, had been to his partner’s address and taken the dog out for a walk, but when he returned much later there had been an argument and police were called.

John Cooper, prosecuting at High Peak Magistrates’ Court last week, said officers had attended earlier in the evening following reports that a puppy had been stolen.

PC Dobson and a colleague visited the address on Carlisle Road at about 4am on June 16.

Johnston was stood outside the property with a dog and his partner was inside refusing to let him in and demanding the dog back.

Mr Cooper said when another officer picked up the dog to hand it back to the woman inside the flat through a window, Johnston, who had been abusive throughout, clenched his fist and was about to punch the officer when PC Dobson intervened.

During the scuffle Johnston tried to punch PC Dobson in the face, but the officer managed to block the blow with his arm.

As Johnston continued to lash out he had to be restrained by both officers.

The court heard that Johnston, who had expressed remorse for his behaviour, had no intention to assault the officer and admitted he should have walked away when his girlfriend asked him to, but that the matter had “gotten out of hand”.

Brent Patterson, defending, said: “Through me Mr Johnston apologises, and you have obviously heard drink played a part in this.”

He told the court that Johnston, who works full-time as a head chef, had made excellent progress on a community order imposed almost a year ago, which was confirmed by the probation service.

Magistrate Neil Broadbent told him: “We have listened to what the probation service have said about the progress you have made on your community order and what a glowing reference it was.

“There was a glowing reference from your employer as well. How disappointing to find yourself standing there.”

Johnston, of Carlisle Road, pleaded guilty to assaulting a constable in the execution of their duty, and was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 60 hours of unpaid work.

He must also pay a total of £560, made up of £50 compensation, £300 prosecution costs, £60 victim surcharge and a £150 criminal court charge.