Lawyer rejects dog attack victim’s fresh evidence

FIGHTING BACK: Matthew Tomkins is not happy with council blaming his dogs for a vicious dog attack
FIGHTING BACK: Matthew Tomkins is not happy with council blaming his dogs for a vicious dog attack Trinette Stevens

"I looked away and I heard them running...once I felt the bite on my leg; I turned a little...what I do recall is seeing the brown and black dog coming up at me."

This what the Rockhampton Magistrates Court heard yesterday as 43-year-old dog attack victim Fiona Michelle Stoddart tearily gave an account of events that lead her to sustain serious facial and leg injuries after an incident involving two dogs in Gracemere on September 17, 2014.

The nurse had spent the months since recovering physically and mentally as she underwent plastic surgery and was later diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder from the attack.

Facing the court was Gracemere man Matthew Tomkins, whose dogs were identified by Rockhampton Regional Council as the animals responsible for the attack on Ms Stoddart.

As a result, Mr Tomkins was charged with two counts of failing to ensure his dogs did not attack or cause fear, but was contesting the charge based on what he believed was the misidentification of his dogs, Bindi and Chop.

In the hearing yesterday Mr Tomkins' lawyer William Prizeman put in an application to exclude the identification evidence of the complainant after she was "inconsistent" with the description of the animals involved.

Mr Prizeman said there was a risk she was an "honest but mistaken witness" after it was revealed Ms Stoddart changed her description of the dogs following a "reoccurring dream" after the incident.

Initially the victim described the dogs as one black and brown female dog with large teats and one off-white dog with coarse hair, but changed her description later on to a black and brown dog and an off-white female dog with large teats after being shown photos.

Mr Prizeman was also concerned the three photo books of potential offending dogs shown to Ms Stoddart for identification purposes was not done in a way that would eliminate prejudice against his client's animals.

The court heard the images of only one dog (Bindi) was refreshed with updated versions in the photo book during interviews with Ms Stoddart, and only Bindi, Chop and one other dog were depicted as wearing a catchpole.

The reliability of Ms Stoddart's memory was also called into question considering the traumatic nature of her experience.

Her psychologist, Bruce Acutt was called as a witness to the hearing.

He said she was shown the first two photo books too early and the final photo book too late, but said her memory in the weeks after the incident would be more reliable than information provided directly after.

Mr Ackett said after Ms Stoddart settled from the anxiety of the attack it would be easier to recall details.

He also said the strong tranquiliser she was prescribed by the hospital, Tramadol, would have affected her ability to recall accurately in the early days following the attack.

Magistrate Michael O'Driscoll did not decide on whether to allow the identification evidence through yesterday, but said he would reach his decision by the next hearing date on February 1, 2016.

Topics:  dog attack pets post traumatic stress disorder psychologist rockhampton magistrates court

Rings offer hope at treacherous Fingal headland

This all-terrain vehicle was funded for Fingal SLSC after its namesake, Ryan Martin, died at Fingal Head.

Flotation devices and more on the horizon for deadly headland

Bust a move to get weight down

DANCE: Peter Leroy (centre ) is teaching people to   dance to Tina Turner's hit song Nutbush City Limits, as a fun way to help improve fitness levels.

Join the new Nutbush exercise class.

Local Partners

To the stranger who Photoshopped my picture

MIRANDA agreed to have her photo taken with her mum in a jewellery store. When she logged onto Instagram the next day, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

Don't delay: this test could save your life

LIFE-SAVING: Rob Patch is on a mission to convince people to have their sleep apnoea checked in order to prevent an early death.

"The doctors said I had come there to die.”

Cricket's Merv Hughes can’t stomach drink and drug-drivers

AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 26: Merv Hughes of Australia prepares to bowl on December 26, 1990 in Australia. (Photo by Getty Images)

former Australian cricketer’s first car was an HT Holden wagon.

Russia’s seedy ‘virginity trade’

On Russian social media, young girls and women are being recruited to sell their virginity to wealthy men. Picture: The Sun

Girls as young as 17 sell their virginity

Cancer teen married two days before death

19-year-old cancer patient Lydia Dominguez married her boyfriend Joshua Ordonez just two days before she died.

Teen with cancer dies after getting married two days earlier

Dad’s shock: ‘I was told I was a paedophile’

Karl Pollard was taking his daughter Stephanie to visit her sick grandmother. Picture: SWNS/Mega

Hotel apologises after wrongly accusing innocent dad of paedophilia