Ross Straker’s beloved Alsatian-Rottweiler cross Wookie went missing from his Hever Lane home in April 2009. Since then Mr Straker, a shooting instructor, has made a series of Freedom of Information requests hoping to discover the truth about what happened to his three-year-old pet. He even enlisted the help of a private detective as well as contacting MP Sir John Stanley.He has, indeed, gone the extra mile for his pet. A touching story of devotion, or…something else?
But this week, Judge Robin Callender Smith told Mr Straker his campaign had become “obsessive, disproportionate and excessive” .Something that no judge would ever dare say about any other campaigns based on even shakier evidence than this one. Because it seems Mr Straker doesn’t believe his dog was lost. He believes it was stolen.
Mr Straker’s focus fixed on “conspiracy theories” involving the Metropolitan Police Service and Kent Police.Clearly, a step too far for our justice system:
The judge, sitting on a Tribunal for Information Rights in London, said Mr Straker had become convinced the dog – for which he offered a £2,000 reward – was stolen by an ex-girlfriend, whose father he believes is employed by the Met Police.
He said: “The appellant believes there has been some kind of conspiracy over a four-year period involving his dog, Wookie, and, determined to uncover what may have happened within the Metropolitan Police Service and what has happened to his pet, he wrote to and telephoned the Metropolitan Police Service as well as other organisations on multiple occasions.”How very dare he contact those who, ummm, work for the public. Don't they?
He said Mr Straker had levelled accusations of “serious dishonesty” against the police, claiming numerous officers had lied to him.Gosh! And that's so unprecedented. Incidentally, WoaR draws our attention to an update on that long-running case...
Mr Straker’s appeal in his latest request for information was dismissed.On the basis that...well, read for yourself:
The judge said: “The tribunal accepts the loss of a dearly-loved dog – and the search for how and what may have happened to it – is something that can properly engage a bereaved owner in a completely legitimate series of enquiries. Those enquiries, however, need to be proportionate to the aim to be achieved – finding out what happened to his dog.And...is it for anyone other than Mr Straker to determine what is proportional?
“In this case the tribunal finds the appellant has lost his sense of proportion in a quest that has now gone on for more than three years. His focus has become disproportionately and inappropriately fixed on wrong-doing and conspiracy theories.”But sometimes, they turn out to have a grain of truth, do they not?
He added the requests had “reached the point of vexatiousness”Strange. So many other cases don't get a similar chiding from the bench....