The owner of a dog that mauled a toddler as she played in a garden has had his case sent to Bristol Crown Court, after magistrates deemed their sentencing powers insufficient.
Lee Lewis, of Ashley Road in St Pauls, arrived for a sentencing hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (July 19) after pleading guilty to being in charge of a dog that was dangerously out of control, causing injury.
But the 50-year-old was told by magistrates that the case was so serious they were unable to pass sentence, before he left of the dock, saying: “This is pathetic.”
May Li, prosecuting, told the court that Lewis owned a three-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier named ‘Marney’ that had attacked a two-year-old girl as she played in a garden in September last year.
The child’s parents had been watching over their daughter while chatting to a neighbour when suddenly the dog lunged at the toddler, biting her on the face, Ms Li said.
The child was rushed to Bristol Children’s Hospital where she was treated for a puncture wound on her cheek along with ‘multiple’ shallow puncture wounds.
It is thought that as a result of the child’s injuries, her face will be left permanently scarred.
In a victim’s statement read aloud to the court, the child’s mother said her daughter had nightmares and tantrums after the attack, and was undertaking art therapy to help her cope.
The mother added that the toddler had been left terrified of dogs, and they’d had to rehome their beloved family dog as a result.
At this point. a woman who accompanied Lewis to the court and had been watching proceedings left the public gallery, saying: “I’m not listening to this b**locks”.
A dog behaviourist has since assessed Marney and concluded that the dog does not constitute a danger to others.
It was down to magistrates to sentence Lewis and decide whether or not his dog should be destroyed, but they concluded that this was ‘outside of the powers’ of the magistrates’ court.
Magistrates can impose a sentence, generally of up to six months’ imprisonment for a single offence or a fine of an unlimited amount.
The hearing was adjourned to take place at Bristol Crown Court on August 16 at 10am.
Lewis remains on unconditional bail.