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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Police dog bit fleeing Cumbrian man on head

A man injured in a fight outside an amateur rugby league club was hurt again a few days later when a police dog bit him on the head.

Craig Branney, 24, had his finger broken and needed stitches in a cut after a mass disturbance – in which he brandished a baseball bat – in the Wath Brow Hornets club car park in west Cumbria on January 26.

And just a week later, on February 3, the court was told, he ended up in hospital again when, after using the plaster cast on his hand to fight off a police dog, he was eventually grounded when the animal went for his head instead.

Branney, of Greystone Place, Cleator, pleaded guilty to charges of threatening behaviour, obstructing a police officer by running away and being concerned in the supply of cannabis – the offence for which the police dog handler was trying to arrest him.

He was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to undergo drugs rehabilitation.

He was also put under an electronically monitored curfew to keep him at home from 8pm to 6m for the next 20 weeks.

Branney’s barrister Greg Hoare said he had “very much come of worst” and “got second prize” in both incidents.

Prosecuting counsel Antony Longworth the trouble at the rugby club broke out after Branney started arguing with Philip Coyle, who had started a relationship with one of his ex girlfriends.

Branney attacked Mr Coyle in the club’s lobby, before being “bundled out” by his friends.

But in the car park the violence erupted again, with about 20 people involved in “seeing him off the premises” as he threatened them with a baseball bat.

Mr Longworth said that a week later Branney was in a speeding car stopped in Frizington in the small hours of the morning. As the police talked to the driver they spotted Branney trying to hide a toiletry bag – smelling strongly of cannabis – under the car.

Branney then ran off “like a gazelle” over some gardens in Coronation Drive, so fast the police could not keep up with him, Mr Longworth said.

He was eventually arrested after the police dog caught up with him and put its jaws around his head, Mr Longworth said.

Ian Davidson, 32, of Ehen Road, Cleator Moor, who was one of the people in the car with Branney pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

He also admitted a charge of possessing the class B drug mephedrone – known as meow meow – with which he was caught in the Griffin pub in Carlisle in October 2012, with intent to supply it.

Davidson had previous convictions for a range of offences including threatening behaviour and assault and was on a suspended sentence for burgling a house with intent to steal drugs.

He was jailed for a total of 21 months.

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