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Alleged burglar claims his dog chewed off electronic tag

By Alan Erwin

Published 23/11/2015

The court heard how it would take 40kgs in weight to remove the device.
The court heard how it would take 40kgs in weight to remove the device.

An alleged burglar accused of removing his electronic ankle tag claims it was chewed off by his dog, the High Court heard today.

Jamie Toland said he woke up to find the animal gnawing at the monitoring device to get out for its morning walk, a judge was told.

But ruling that the 23-year-old must remain in custody, Mr Justice Maguire said any other outcome would "defy all the rules of logic and sense".

He added: "I'm afraid some of his explanations for these matters tests the court's ability to accept what he says."

Toland, of Slemish Way in Lisburn, Co Antrim, is charged with burgling a house in the city back in February.

He allegedly stole £1,550 in cash and a BB gun during the break-in.

Last month he was granted bail on condition that he abides by electronic monitoring requirements.

But he now faces a new charge of criminal damage for allegedly removing the device seven days later.

Police were alerted after a tamper alarm was activated at the security firm who manage the system on October 28.

Officers went to Toland's home and arrested him after initially getting no answer.

Conor Maguire, prosecuting, said: "It subsequently became clear that the electronic tag had been removed from the applicant's ankle.

"He said 'My dog pulled the tag off me'."

A box installed his house as part of the monitoring arrangements had been shifted so he could do some cleaning, according to his account.

Mr Maguire added: "The tag was examined and there were no signs of any teeth marks around it."

Stressing the force required to break one of the devices, the barrister said it would take up to 40 kilos in weight.

Joel Lindsay, defending, accepted he faced "an uphill struggle" to secure bail once more for his client.

"His account of this is that he takes the dog for a walk every morning, but he slept in and the dog was gnawing at the thing on his leg," Mr Lindsay told the court.

"He said when he got up he tried to get the dog off and the item fell off his leg."

The court heard Toland has been battling alcohol addiction.

His barrister also revealed that he suffered two serious assaults earlier this year.

He sustained a fractured jaw and a brain injury in one incident. The second attack involved being hit on the skull with a bottle.

Rejecting Toland's bid to be released from custody again, the judge said: "This is an application where I would have to defy all the rules of logic and sense to do other than refuse him bail."

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