Sentencing adjourned for Saint John man whose dogs attacked several people

Michael Edmond Kirby of Saint John was found guilty in July of four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, related to several dog attacks. (CBC - image credit)
Michael Edmond Kirby of Saint John was found guilty in July of four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, related to several dog attacks. (CBC - image credit)

The sentencing hearing has been adjourned for a 59-year-old Saint John man whose dogs roamed the lower west side and attacked several people over a six-month period in 2018.

Michael Edmond Kirby is now scheduled to be back in court on Feb. 2.

The sentencing hearing was supposed to take place on Friday morning, but defence lawyer Charles Bryant asked for an adjournment. He told the court that he wanted to wait for the Supreme Court of Canada to issue a ruling on an unrelated case.

Bryant said the Supreme Court's decision in that case could have an impact on the sentencing options available to his client.

Currently, conditional sentences aren't eligible for the offences Kirby has been convicted of — criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

But potentially, the Supreme Court could change that in the case Bryant cited.

Graham Thompson/CBC
Graham Thompson/CBC

After taking some time to consider the request, Justice Arthur Doyle granted the adjournment.

In July, Doyle found Kirby guilty of four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Kirby was charged after five separate incidents on four days between June and December 2018. The victims ranged from a 14-year-old boy on his way to school to an elderly man out for a stroll in his lower west side neighbourhood.

Reading parts of his 131–page decision, Doyle said there was no question that by Aug. 22, 2018, the date of the first charge against him, Kirby was aware of his dogs' "propensity to attack" people and knew, or ought to have known, they were a danger to innocent passersby.

American Kennel Club
American Kennel Club

The incidents involved various numbers of Kirby's dogs — from one to four dogs. Two were Louisiana Catahoula leopard dogs and two were Catahoula-Labrador mixes.

According to the American Kennel Club's website, the Louisiana Catahoula leopard dog "requires firm guidance and early socialization, as they can be independent, territorial, and protective."

Kirby got two more dogs during the time frame of the attacks. By the time he was arrested in December 2018, he had six dogs. Five were destroyed, and one was found dead in Kirby's residence when the dogs were seized two days after his arrest.