Kimberley cruelty trial heads to Perth

29 Oct, 2015 01:00 AM

AN animal cruelty trial brought by the RSPCA against a Kimberley cattleman and pastoral company will move to the Perth Central Court in December.

The case against Moola Bulla station manager Nico Botha and the South African Western Australian Pastoral Company (SAWA) was part heard before magistrate Kevin Tavener in Kununurra Magistrates Court last week.

Mr Botha, as a director of SAWA, and SAWA, as pastoral lease occupier, were initially charged with 16 counts, eight each, of cruelty to an animal.

The charges relate to the dehorning of four cattle on Moola Bulla, near Halls Creek, in 2012.

A worker on the station filmed the cattle being dehorned on a mobile phone and sent images to the RSPCA.

RSPCA chief inspector Amanda Swift brought the charges against Mr Botha and SAWA.

One charge against Mr Botha and one charge against SAWA were dropped when the trial opened on Monday last week at Kununurra.

A second charge against Mr Botha and a second charge against SAWA were withdrawn during the prosecution's argument of the RSPCA case, leaving a total of 12 charges to be concluded in Perth.

Mr Botha and SAWA have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

During the five hearing days last week, the prosecution completed its case against Mr Botha and SAWA and the lawyer representing them outlined the defence case before the trial was adjourned.

The defence case will be concluded in Perth, with the trial due to resume on Monday, December 14.

So far, most of the testimony has been from expert witnesses called by the RSPCA.

Mobile phone footage of the dehorning has been shown in court.

Mr Botha's and SAWA's defence team are expected to call further expert witnesses when the trial resumes.

Ms Swift and the RSPCA are represented by international law firm MinterEllison.

Mr Botha and SAWA are represented by Kununurra law firm Salerno Law.

Mal Gill

Mal Gill

is wool and dairy writer for Farm Weekly


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