‘Dog chewed off electronic tag’

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

Jamie Toland (23) said he woke up to find the animal gnawing at the monitoring device to get out for its morning walk, but, ruling Toland 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 test the court’s ability to accept what he says.”

Toland, of Slemish Way, Lisburn, is charged that in February he burgled a house in the city, allegedly stealing £1,550 and a BB gun.

He was granted bail, conditional on his meeting electronic monitoring requirements, but now faces a charge of criminal damage for allegedly removing the device seven days later.

Alerted after a tamper alarm was activated at the security firm who manage the system on October 28, police arrested Toland at his home 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. . .”

A box installed in his house as part of monitoring arrangements had been shifted, Toland said, so he could do some cleaning. “The tag was examined and there were no signs of any teeth marks around it,” said Mr Maguire, noting it would take up to 40 kilos in weight to break the device.

Joel Lindsay, defending, accepted he faced “an uphill struggle” to secure bail again for his client. “His account of this,” he said, “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. 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 and suffered two serious assaults earlier this year, sustaining a fractured jaw and a brain injury in one incident and a blow to the skull in the other.