Judges are deciding whether a dog used by its owner to violently attack someone should be put down.Andrew Cornes, 35, was convicted of using his Staffordshire Bull Terrier to inflict harm on a man in his 30s, who was treated at the scene in The Trinity, Worcester, before being taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital with ‘dog bites’. The violent incident, which happened on 3 February this year, involved ‘several other defendants’, according to Worcester News. At Worcester Crown Court, prosecutor Timothy Sapwell said the court had to consider destruction of the dog, describing it as ‘the default position unless there is evidence to the contrary’.
Recorder Benjamin Nicholls claimed that the decision to put down the animal rested on whether the dog itself was a danger.
He said: ‘If this is a case not of a dangerous dog but a dangerous owner, which it very often is in my experience, if the dog isn’t inherently dangerous and appropriate arrangements can be made for rehoming and that sort of thing, clearly that’s something the defence could deal with.’
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He added that the default position was that the court make a destruction order ‘unless the court is satisfied the dog does not present a danger to public safety’.
He said: ‘We have to look at the dog’s previous convictions, so to speak’.It is understood that Cornes’ aunt has offered to look after the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which has been owned by the defendant for 10 years. Recorder Nicholls said: ‘If it can be rehomed that may mean we don’t have to order the dog to be put down.’ Cornes was due to be sentenced on Friday for section 18 wounding (with intent), which involves the use of a dog as a weapon and also being the owner of a dog which caused injuries while dangerously out of control.
Co-defendant Bobby Watts, 19, was also due to be sentenced for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray for his role in the incident.
However, the case was was adjourned so the two men could be sentenced alongside a third co-defendant.Cornes and Watts will be sentenced on 10 September this year, alongside Aaron Abbott, 18, who is due to be sentenced for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray.
Watts will also be sentenced for two counts of being in possession of a bladed article in a public place.
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