TS, aged 14 was riding his bicycle along the pavement when a dog, which had escaped from his owner’s garden, rushed towards him barking in an aggressive manner, causing TS to instinctively swerve way from the dog.  He swerved into the road and into the path of a car and was seriously injured.

The dog’s owner was aware the dog was aggressive towards strangers (although it had never bitten anyone) and was aware that it would try to escape from the garden.  Proceedings were taken against the owner under s3(1) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 but the prosecution was discontinued when she gave up ownership of the dog.

TS submitted a claim to the CICA but it was rejected on the grounds that his injuries were not attributable to a “crime of violence”.

An appeal was lodged with the First-Tier Tribunal who disagreed with the CICA.  It found the dog had a history of being aggressive if it escaped and was aggressive towards TS.  On the balance of probabilities the injuries of TS were attributable to a crime of violence and awarded TS £499,155 compensation.

The CICA started proceedings for judicial review of the decision on the grounds that the tribunal’s finding contained an error of law or was irrational.  The CICA submitted that the owner of the dog had not committed a crime, but even if she had, it was not a crime of violence.

The Court of Appeal held that a crime had been committed.  A crime had been committed under s3(1) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991:

If a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place—

(a)the owner; and

(b)if different, the person for the time being in charge of the dog,

is guilty of an offence, or, if the dog while so out of control injures any person, an aggravated offence, under this subsection

In establishing if the crime committed, was a crime of violence, it was necessary to consider the nature of the offence, rather than its consequences.  It was held that the crime did not become of crime of violence for the purposes of the CICA just because it resulted in an injury to a person.

The offence committed by the owner was not a crime of violence and therefore the appeal was allowed.