Seven years' jail for dog attack on sister

By Amy McGillivray

Liz Smith left court yesterday in tears before her sister was sent to prison. The dog will be put down. Photo / APN
Liz Smith left court yesterday in tears before her sister was sent to prison. The dog will be put down. Photo / APN

A woman who was savagely beaten by her sister and mauled by her pitbull dog hopes the seven-year jail sentence handed down to her sibling will help sort her out.

Phillipa Bayley, 55, was sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday after being found guilty earlier of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to Liz Smith.

Ms Smith was in the gallery at the start of her sister's sentencing but left in tears as details were read out.

"I think she should do seven years of intensive therapy and she might sort herself out," Ms Smith said.

"I'm not happy to see her go away but she did it and she's not sorry."

After the jury handed down its verdict on October 4, the foreman told Judge Robert Wolff all 12 members were unanimous in their view that Bayley's pitbull dog was involved in the attack but could not agree on whether the dog was deliberately set on Ms Smith.

Judge Wolff told Bayley he took this into consideration in his sentencing but he was certain she set her dog upon her sister.

"I'm satisfied the complainant did not start any incident with you other than a verbal discussion with you, that you pushed her first and then that grew into an incident where you attacked her with a chess piece and, by my view, setting the dog upon her.

"The jury plainly did not unanimously share my view about the attack by the dog. Either way, the extent and number of injuries to the complainant show the dog took part for a considerable amount of time."

He said the seriousness of the injuries, the prolonged length of time the attack lasted, the attacks to Ms Smith's head and the use of a weapon made it a very serious assault.

Ms Smith underwent surgery after suffering multiple tears to her scalp, ears, nose and lips. Bayley admitted some of the injuries were inflicted by her with a stone chess piece.

"I'm satisfied that this is not a case of self-defence," Judge Wolff told Bayley. "You were the author of the dispute and you carried out the dispute to the complainant and there was no issue of self-defence."

He added six months to the sentence to take into account the dog's role, but cut six months for Bayley's clean record.

The dog has been in the pound since the attack. It will be destroyed on Friday.

- APN

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