Dog was goaded to attack: Sister

By Sandra Conchie

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A Bay woman has told a court she thought she was going to die when she was savaged by her sister's pitbull, alleging her sibling deliberately encouraged the dog to attack her.

Liz Smith's allegations resulted in Phillipa Bayley appearing in the Tauranga District Court at the start of her three-day jury trial yesterday.

Bayley, 54, denies one count of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

 


 


She allegedly repeatedly punched Ms Smith about the head, hit her with a stone chess piece and encouraged her American pitbull puppy to attack her face and head during a heated argument in May last year.

Ms Smith says her sister attacked her in the lounge of Bayley's Welcome Bay home in the early hours of May 21, and also hissed at her dog to join in, pushing the dog's face hard into hers so it began biting and scratching at her face and head, including trying to scalp her.

Ms Smith underwent surgery after suffering multiple tears to her scalp, ears, nose and lips.

During his opening address, Crown prosecutor Rob Ronayne told the jury Ms Smith had suffered a multitude of serious injuries because of Bayley and her dog.

Mr Ronayne said the jury would not only hear from Ms Smith but from the police officers who responded to two 111 calls made from Bayley's address on the morning of the attack. He said the officers would describe seeing the accused sitting astride a bloodied Ms Smith, repeatedly punching her about the head, while one of the two dogs located nearby, a young pitbull, had blood coating its jaw.

Mr Ronayne said the Crown alleged that Bayley meant to cause the injuries Ms Smith received.

But he said if Bayley claimed she acted in self defence, then the key question for the jury was whether the force used was out of all proportion to what was required to overpower her sister.

Mr Ronayne said Bayley's admissions to the police would negate any self-defence claims.

Yesterday the jury watched Ms Smith's video-taped interview, undertaken by a a Tauranga detective following her discharge from hospital.

Ms Smith said that on returning home from a night out at a local pub together, she and Bayley started discussing family issues, during which her sister began saying some nasty things before suddenly flying at her "like a wild bull".

"She got on top of me and began hitting me like I was a punching bag. She was also hissing at her dog and egging it on.

"It started sucking on to my lips and scratching and biting me at my head, and it got hold of my hair and it was trying to scalp me while she was punching me.

"I was begging her, I begged and begged her to stop and told her the dog was killing me and to get it off me, but she pushed the dog's face hard in my face, and he was sucking at my mouth like it was a piece of meat ... I was so grateful when the police arrived, I wasn't far away from dying I'm sure ... I'm sure Phillipa wanted the dog to kill me," Ms Smith said.

The accused's lawyer, Bill Nabney, yesterday afternoon began cross-examining Ms Smith and put it to her that she had been the instigator of the attack.

However, Ms Smith repeatedly denied she had scratched her sister's face or had punched her during the heated argument.

The trial continues today.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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