A man who threw a small dog down stairs, breaking its leg in what a magistrate called an “extremely cruel act”, has been handed a jail sentence.
The ACT Magistrates Court has already heard the lawyer for 34-year-old Daniel Christopher Grech, who was once a member of the Comancheros, claim “he’s not someone who would harm animals”.
The O’Connor man was sentenced to a total of about one-and-half years’ jail by Magistrate Jane Campbell on Monday (25 September).
She said he got into an argument with a woman in 2022, during which he pushed her over, then picked up her 7 kg Japanese spitz, held it at shoulder height and threw it down a flight of stairs.
The dog landed heavily on the concrete below and immediately started yelping. Its leg had been completely broken and needed $15,000-worth of surgeries.
Magistrate Campbell said the act of animal cruelty was “designed to cause harm to the animal” as well as “cause emotional harm” to the woman.
She said the woman had initially been reluctant to speak to police and thought her retribution fears were completely justified.
A few weeks later, the woman saw Grech again. This time, he grabbed her around her neck and punched her in the face, although the magistrate said she did not find this was a retributive act.
Grech was arrested in November 2022 and his parole over a Supreme Court sentence was cancelled, requiring him to serve the one-year and eight months he had remaining on his sentence.
Magistrate Campbell said he had spent most of the last seven to eight years in custody and was at risk of becoming institutionalised.
He has worked as a delivery driver and has a history of drug use.
Grech pleaded guilty to and was convicted on charges that included animal cruelty causing serious injury, assault, property damage and choking.
While his head sentence was increased to February 2026 as a result of Monday’s sentencing, it also means he is eligible to apply for parole this month.
Magistrate Campbell did make a reparations order, requiring him to pay about $13,000 to cover the vet fees for the dog. He had already paid the woman about $2000.