Crime caper: Like the cartoon dog, the animal could play a vital role in the case
A dog named Scooby has created legal history by appearing as a witness in a murder case.
The animal's 59-year-old owner had been found hanging from the ceiling of her Paris flat. Police believe it was suicide but her family say that it was murder.
The dog was in the flat at the time of the death.
During a preliminary hearing in the city, the pet was led into the witness box by a vet.
A suspect in the case was presented to the dog, to see how it reacted.
It is said to have 'barked furiously'.
The aim was to decide if there was sufficient evidence to launch a full murder inquiry.
A decision on the case is pending.
The legal first took place in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, with controversial French judge Thomas Cassuto praising the animal for his ‘exemplary behaviour and invaluable assistance.’
The dog, who shares his name with timid cartoon crime-buster Scooby Doo, was believed to have been with his owner during her last hours two-and-a-half years ago.
During the hearing a court clerk was asked to ‘record all of the dog’s barks’ and to note ‘its general behaviour throughout the cross examination’.
Because of its controversial nature, the hearing was held behind closed doors, with public and press excluded.
While prosecution lawyers welcomed the appearance of the dog, others doubted that the animal’s behaviour could be interpreted as legal evidence.
The two-and-a-half years since the death of the animal’s owner are the equivalent of about 17 dog years.
‘That’s a long time for a dog to remember what went on,’ said a legal source close to the case.
‘Getting a pet involved in a case of this nature is a novel idea, but a lot of people are extremely sceptical.
‘It’s a tragic case, but the appearance of the dog did cause a few laughs. He’s naturally been nicknamed Scooby.’
Scooby Doo is the famous animated talking dog who continually solves crime mysteries with the help of four American teenagers. The TV show, which started broadcasting in 1969, is hugely popular around the world, including France and Britain.
A spokesman for the Palais de Justice in Paris confirmed that the Nanterre case was the first time a dog had appeared as a witness in criminal proceedings in France.
He said he was ‘almost certain’ it was also a world first.
Scooby the dog makes legal history after appearing in court as a witness in a murder case | Mail Online