THE fate of a dog still hangs in the balance after it was used as a weapon in a savage mauling.

The final hearing to decide the fate of Andrew Cornes's dog Kimbo following an attack in Worcester was supposed to take place at the city's crown court yesterday but has been adjourned for three weeks.

His aunt wants to have the dog but the default position is that Kimbo be destroyed. If a contingent destruction order is made instead the dog would not be destroyed but made subject to stringent conditions, such as being muzzled in public. Cornes is serving an eight year jail sentence for grievous bodily harm with intent and for being the owner of a dog which caused injuries while dangerously out of control after he set the dog on a man. He was sentenced last month.

The 35-year-old, previously of George Street, Worcester, was not produced at the hearing. Mark Sheward, for Cornes, said he would explain the outcome to his client by visiting him in the cells afterwards.

Cornes's aunt still needs to sign a statement to take ownership of the dog but further discussions and investigations would have to take place if this is to be approved. Mr Sheward said: "I have spoken to her today. She is still keen to have the dog. She knows the dog. There should be an effective hearing in three weeks hopefully."

Ian Ball, for the prosecution, asked that the aunt's contact details be provided as soon as possible.

The case was adjourned until November 8. Judge Nicolas Cartwright said Cornes only needed to attend if matters were going to be contested and if he was going to give evidence.

Cornes set the large Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross on Alan Keylock in The Trinity in Worcester, shouting 'get him!' as Kimbo sank his teeth multiple times into the victim, inflicting deep puncture wounds. The victim suffered a broken arm though he did not know whether the dog had done this or the gang of four which beat him afterwards.

Bobby Watts, 19, of Westmount Road, London and Aaron Abbott, 18, of Solent Road, Worcester and two youths set upon the injured man, kicking and punching him in the head during the attack at around 3.20am on February 3 this year.

Watts and Abbott were each jailed for 16 months for ABH and affray alongside 'ringleader' Cornes.