Dog kicking Postman walks free

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A postman accused of injuring a Yorkshire terrier by kicking it across a patio had the charge against him dropped on health grounds.

Billy Ace was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to the family pet, which had to be put down after fracturing its skull in the incident.

But the RSPCA, which brought the prosecution, told Swansea Magistrates it wanted to drop the case because the postman has a heart problem and was not fit to stand trial at the moment.

Afterwards, RSPCA spokesman Huw Evans said: "It's not a satisfactory outcome because we do believe Mr Ace was guilty, however we do wish him a speedy recovery."

In a statement issued through solicitor Graham Jones, Mr Ace said afterwards: "I have throughout these proceedings maintained that my actions were reasonable and feel that the evidence heard by the court before I became unwell wholly vindicated my position.

"The fact that prosecution witnesses had been bitten or assaulted by this dog in addition to those who came forward and volunteered to give evidence on my behalf support my position that the dog was aggressive and on occasions out of control."

A Royal Mail spokesman added: "We accept the decision of the court and our main concern now is that the postman Billy Ace is given time to recover quietly and peacefully."

He added the Royal Mail had carried out its own investigation into the incident after which it brought no action against the postman, who has received threats after the incident.

Mr Ace, 46, of West Cross, Swansea, kicked the three-and-a-half year old Yorkshire terrier, named Ria, in June last year as he was delivering mail to its owner's home in The Mumbles.

Dog owner Neil East told the court last week he had seen the postman kick the dog about 13ft across his patio. It landed on some flowerpots.

The dog had to be put down by a vet after sustaining a fractured skull and brain damage in the incident, the court heard.

Giving evidence, Mr Ace, who was delivering mail to the house for the first time in months when the incident happened, denied the charge and said he had only kicked the dog to defend himself after it had bitten him.

In the middle of giving evidence he told magistrates he felt "dizzy" and the case was adjourned for him to take a break.

But the postman collapsed outside the courtroom and was taken to Swansea's Singleton Hospital suffering from an irregular heartbeat.

The court heard today it could be up to three months before he was fit enough to give evidence again.

After hearing about the defendant's condition Ray Cope, chairman of the bench, dismissed the charge against Mr Ace.

He said: "It's not satisfactory from anyone's point of view. It would have been far better if it had been resolved one way or the other."