Dog paralyses Argentine court by eating legal brief

March 27th, 2009 - 1:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Buenos Aires, March 27 (EFE) A dog belonging to a court employee picked the wrong thing to have for lunch when it ate an important document in a major tax fraud case, thus paralysing a federal court in Buenos Aires for a day, a media report said.
The pet’s act resulted in judicial authorities categorically prohibiting animals in court as well as initiating proceedings to punish those responsible for the unusual mistake.

On Monday, clerk Matias Laino came into the office of federal Judge Rafael Caputo carrying his poodle under his arm because on that day he had nobody to leave the dog with while he was at work, an excuse that initially was accepted by the magistrate.

Caputo okayed bringing the dog into court because “it was understood that (Laino had made a) commitment … (to take) the necessary precautions” to ensure that “court operations were not harmed”, as the judge later stated in his complaint about the disruption caused by the animal.

The pet was found by another court employee as it was “chewing on a wad” of paper, which proved to be the original copy of one of the briefs in the case, according to Caputo’s complaint published in the capital daily Critica.

The incident occurred after part of the brief in question had been photocopied, and so the judge assumed that the chewed-up sheet had been copied and then “mislaid”, after which it somehow found its way into the jaws of the pooch.

In any case, Caputo ordered his employees to find out if anyone “had wadded the paper up to give to the dog”.

The mutilated brief was one of the documents pertaining to the investigation of tax fraud committed by a dozen firms by creating fake invoices.

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