6:20am Tuesday 14th January 2014
A JUDGE was left angry at Gloucestershire Police today after it failed to meet court deadlines in the case against a man accused of setting his pitbull on his girlfriend in Dursley while he held her head down.
The prosecution had been ordered to complete its file of evidence against Joel Armstrong, 32, by December 6 and present it to the court and defence the same day.
But because the police officer in the case had been off work ill with heart problems nothing had been done, the court was told.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC was told that another officer had only been assigned to take over the case on Wednesday, January 8 - more than a month after the file was due to be ready.
The judge told the new officer, Detective Constable Sarah Dalglish, to "Go back to your detective sergeant and say you had a tough time from the judge because he couldn't understand why absolutely nothing has been done about this serious case once the officer went ill".
He added: "No-one seems to have had any oversight of this case at all. It needs to be pursued. Please pass that message on."
Armstrong, of no fixed address, faces three charges of assault on the same woman - twice last year and once on October 1 this year.
Prosecutor Janine Wood said Armstrong is accused of assaulting his partner causing actual bodily harm last August and then with causing her grievous bodily harm later in 2012 by stabbing her.
"It is alleged the most recent assault followed an argument between the partners," Ms Wood said.
"It is alleged he assaulted her and then he commanded his pitbull dog to attack her while he held her head down.
"She sustained injuries to the eye. There was a fracture of the eye socket and wounding to the eye area. He denies all the offences."
The most recent attack involving the dog was at an address in Oak Drive, Dursley, she said.
Defence barrister Kannan Siva told the court that the trial was currently listed for February 26 and it is hoped that date can be kept despite the delays.
He said a dog expert has been instructed by the defence to prepare a report based on photographs of the bite injuries sustained by the alleged victim.
"Is it suggested the dog did not cause the injuries?" asked Judge Tabor.
"No but it is to do with the severity of the attack," Mr Siva said.
"Do you suggest that a dog can be told how severely to bite someone?" the judge asked. "That is some training! I do know a bit about dogs."
Armstrong was remanded in custody to await trial.
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