Why charges were dropped over pet dog killing

A CHARGE of injuring animals against a Kuranda man accused of killing his neighbours' dog, by placing a noose around the two-year-old Staffy's neck and hanging it from a veranda, has been dismissed by reason of insanity.

John Graham Smith, 75, was charged after Zac and Kirstee Mazlin's pet Goji was found by police hanging from the balcony handrail on June 6 last year.

Acting Magistrate Raimund Heggie, who heard the case in Mareeba Magistrates Court handed the finding down on Tuesday dismissing the charge by finding the defendant was of unsound mind at the time.

"Mr Smith did not have the capacity to know what he was doing at the time, or the capacity to control his actions at the time, by reason of psychiatric disorders," Acting Magistrate Heggie said.

Kuranda residents Zac and Kirstee Mazlin's pet staffordshire terrier Goji.
Kuranda residents Zac and Kirstee Mazlin's pet staffordshire terrier Goji.

The court heard Mr Smith, who had made several complaints about the Mazlins' dog venturing on to his land, admitted to restraining the animal but denied intending to do it harm when he attached the rope to its neck and harnessed it to the railing.

Acting Magistrate Heggie said expert witness evidence indicating Mr Smith was suffering four psychiatric disorders at the time supported the insanity defence but he deferred a decision on making an order that would compel further treatment for the conditions until a later date.


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The Kuranda couple who lost their beloved pet in the incident said the verdict meant nothing as it would not bring the two-year-old Staffy back.

"It didn't really matter what the outcome was because we have still lost our dog, we will have what happened to Goji in our minds for the rest of our lives," Mr Mazlin said.

"Kirstee and I had a lot of dogs in our lives but Goji was one of a kind, she was a gem.

"We haven't even talked about getting another dog because we just can't face that after what's happened."

Mr Mazlin said the June 2019 incident had changed the couple's life and they were now rushing to build a new dwelling on his parent's Koah property so they could leave their "dream home" in Kuranda and escape the daily reminders of what happened to Goji.

"We worked hard for five years to save up to buy that block, we thought we would live there for the rest of our lives, and that was taken away from us in one night," he said.

"We have to drive past that house (where Goji died) everyday, we see John all the time, and just when I'm starting to deal with it something reminds me of what happened and I'm dragged down again.

"Kirstee stopped walking, which she loved, and after it happened she didn't want to be in the house alone so would wait in Kuranda after she finished work until I came through and we could go home together.

"It's been very hard for us, it has been going through the court for a long time, and even now it's over nothing really changes for us."

Originally published as Why charges were dropped over pet dog killing