R v Higgins, 1996 NJ No 237 NLPC

Crown appeal from acquittal on a charge of unnecessary pain, suffering or injury. The accused had discovered his cat had knocked over the garbage. He swung a broom at the cat and chased it. The cat broke its leg in the case. Accused conceded the broom may have hit the cat. Accused acquitted because the judge accepted he did not intent to hit the cat, simply wanted to scare the cat.

Held: Appeal dismissed. The trial judge had taken the accused’s recklessness into account in determining intent but the onus of intent fell on the Crown and there was sufficient evidence to sustain the trial judge’s finding that Higgins did not intend to injure the cat.