A Tauranga man has lost his bid to bring a second appeal against a criminal conviction after his now-deceased dog attacked a community nurse visiting his property.

Nicholas Epiha was found guilty on a charge of being the owner of a dog which attacked a person after a defended hearing in the Tauranga District Court on January 28, 2016.

The dog attacked the nurse during a scheduled visit to his property on August 7, 2015.

The dog was tethered by a four-metre-long leash enabling it to roam across the driveway and as she walked past it bit the nurse on her leg causing a wound requiring five stitches.


Epiha was fined $250 and ordered to pay $200 to the victim for emotional harm plus $130 court costs. An order was made for the destruction of the dog.

Although the destruction order was not implemented pending the appeal, the dog has since been euthanised because of its ill-health, the judgement said.

Epiha appealed the conviction to the High Court arguing that the section of the Dog Control Act under which he was convicted was not an offence involving strict liability.

His appeal was dismissed by Justice Woodhouse on May 12 this year who ruled that the offence Epiha was convicted of was a strict liability offence under the Act.

In a written judgement dated November 13, the three Court of Appeal justices declined Epiha's request saying they agreed with Justice Woodhouse's ruling.

The justices said Epiha's leave application was governed by section 253 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011.

"This is a classic public welfare offence directed at protecting the public interest...Once the prosecution has proved the defendant is the owner of the dog that has attacked a person, the onus shifts to the defendant to prove total absence of fault on the balance of probabilities.

"The proposed appeal does not raise any matter of general or public importance justifying a second appeal. Nor is there any indication that justice has been miscarried. The application is accordingly declined," they said.