R v Drake, 2023 CanLII 39084 (NL PC)

The accused was charged over three separate informations with the commission of eight offences relating to an assault and breach of probation conditions involving an argument the accused had with her former intimate partner on July 11, 2022, a breach of release conditions on October 15, 2022 with another former romantic partner with whom the accused was prohibited from having contact or communication with, and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal in a complaint stemming from a TikTok Live recording on November 21, 2022.

Witness testimony indicated that the accused had punched and slapped her former partner in the face, threw garbage and food around the home after he had ended the relationship and asked her to leave his house in the July incident. Upon arrest for the breach of release order in the October altercation, the accused told police she was going to kill herself causing them to divert to hospital; she was taken to the police detachment after the doctor on duty confirmed that she was fit for incarceration, where she declined the opportunity to contact legal counsel. With regard to the animal cruelty allegation, three TikTok users called the RCMP individually to report that they had seen the accused kick her cat Goober over a flight of stairs in a live feed, and the cat sounded like it was screaming. A video was submitted to evidence where the accused is seen asking Goober if her trip down the stairs was too rough.

The accused stated that she has severe depression, PTSD, anxiety and a borderline personality disorder. She also indicated that she treated Goober like her fur-baby and denies kicking her but admitted that sometimes she has had to yell in order to make Goober comply with directions. Counsel for the accused indicated that Goober may have been in heat, which would account for the sounds she was making, and that although three TikTok viewers called police to report animal cruelty, none of them had recorded it.

In analysis, the judge found that the accused lacked credibility and that her evidence was self-contradictory or simply blatant denial. The judge also found that the testimony of three witnesses who watched the accused kick the cat down the stairs was sufficient to find it as fact, indicated ‘at the risk of stating the obvious, kicking an animal down a flight of stairs will cause the animal unnecessary pain’ (para. 88) and was therefore satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had committed the offence.

The accused was found guilty on all charges.