Mauling attack by pit bull-type dog: Quebec owner convicted of criminal negligence

LONGUEUIL, Que. — A Quebec judge is suggesting a man whose dog mauled a young girl will be given a stiffer prison sentence than the three years the Crown is recommending.

Quebec court Judge Pierre Belisle convicted Karim Jean Gilles on Thursday of criminal negligence causing bodily harm after his pit bull-type dog left a seven-year-old girl with severe damage to her face and cranium in a 2015 attack.

Crown attorney Claudie Gilbert said Jean Gilles should be sentenced to three years because of the extent of the girl’s injuries, his prior criminal record and the fact he seemed to have no remorse or empathy.

“I’m thinking of a more severe sentence,” Belisle replied. “More than three years.”

The judge likened Jean Gilles to “Teflon” because it seemed to him that penalties didn’t have an effect on the man’s behaviour.

“It worries me,” Belisle said. “There is a message that needs to be sent.”

The judge said the sentence on March 23 would be ”severe, maybe even exemplary.”

The conviction carries a maximum 10-year prison term.

In finding Jean Gilles guilty, Belisle said the accused ”acted irresponsibly,” “should have foreseen the consequences of his inaction” and that he didn’t care about the law or the safety of others.

Magdalena Biron said the attack in a park left her daughter Vanessa with fractures to the cranium and hand, as well as a cheekbone broken in seven places. She still has scars on her face.

Biron had tears in her eyes and clasped her partner Bernard Biron’s hand when she heard the guilty verdict

Bernard Biron told reporters he was relieved at the verdict but had no opinion on what sentence Jean Gilles should receive.

He said Vanessa does not bear any grudges and that she does not want the accused to be given too stiff a sentence.

Earlier in the week, he told reporters the attack left Vanessa unable to eat solid food for months.

“She had to go to school with a device connected to her veins because her brain was infected,” he said. “Because her skull was crushed in the back and the saliva of the dog infected her system.”

In a brief statement on the last day of his trial, Jean Gilles suggested to Belisle his animal might have been provoked.

The judge rejected the claim.

“That argument is without merit,” Belisle said Thursday. “(Jean Gilles) knew his dogs were dangerous and he didn’t take any measures to prevent them from going after someone.”

The dogs — another of Jean Gilles’ dogs was also at the park that day — weren’t wearing collars the day of the attack and were not on a leash, Belisle said. The accused’s property was not adequately fenced in and he didn’t have the ability to subdue the animals, the judge added.

Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected version. A previous story had the family name as only ‘Gilles’

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