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Crime Nature Newport South Wales

Newport man’s attempt to reopen animal cruelty case dismissed by court

On June 20 at Newport Magistrates Court, James Hamill’s application to reopen his case concerning the severe neglect of his dog, Bella, was dismissed.

The 37-year-old from Forge Close, Caerleon, Newport, had previously admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to Bella, a West Highland Terrier.

The offences occurred over a two-year period in Pontypool, from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2022.

Bella endured extensive neglect, resulting in significant fur loss, dry eye, and ultimately, blindness. The severity of her condition led to the heartbreaking decision to euthanise her.

Vets involved in her care expressed horror at her state, with one stating, “When I first saw Bella I was horrified at the state she was in. I rarely see a dog that is in such poor condition. My first observations were drawn to how little fur Bella had and her poor skin condition.”

Mr. Hamill was initially sentenced to a 12-month community order, required to complete 180 hours of unpaid work, banned from keeping animals for two years, and ordered to pay £895 in costs and a surcharge.

Today’s application to reopen the case was made under section 142 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980, which allows magistrates to rectify errors by reopening cases.

Mr. Hamill’s solicitors, KMC Legal & Finance, argued that he was under pressure to plead guilty, that evidence had not been properly considered, and that his previous legal representation was inadequate.