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Updates: RSPCA to appeal $1.4m fine | Gallstone thief sentenced

Beef Central, 24/06/2015

The RSPCA has confirmed it will appeal a recent court order to pay $1.4 million in damages to the owners of 131 Murray Grey cattle shot and killed by an RSPCA officer in 2003.

RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker told the Age newspaper this week that the organisation believed that a “substantial injustice will be caused” if the recent decision by judge John Bowman was not “corrected”.

Judge Bowman recently awarded damages to James Holdsworth and Heather Ellison whose 131 head of prime cattle were destroyed in 2003. The farmers argued that the animals were not in a state that warranted destruction, while the RSPCA denied negligence.

In August last year, judge Bowman delivered a lengthy decision that the “whole operation conducted by Nicholls on behalf of the (RSPCA) …seems to have been conducted with what could be described as indecent haste”.

In a release, the RSPCA said it respected the legal system, and relied upon it to prosecute animal cruelty offenders, but did not “believe this ruling to be correct”.

RSPCA will seek to argue that judge Bowman erred in assessing the farmers’ financial losses. See more from the Melbourne Age here

Abattoir worker says Gallstones were to fight fatigue

Meanwhile, a Queensland man found guilty of stealing almost $4500 worth of cattle gallstones has told a court he consumed the stones to fight fatigue.

The Toowoomba Chronicle reports that Dean Raymond Alfred Eames, 38, pleaded guilty in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court yesterday to stealing 414.2g of gallstones from a Darling Downs abattoir.

While gallstones can have significant financial value, Mr Eames’ solicitor told the court he wasn’t aware of the stones’ value, the Chronicle reported.

He argued that Eames, a human resources manager, ate the stones to fight fatigue caused by working two jobs.

“He wasn’t aware the abattoir on-sold the items,” Mr Skuse told the court.

“They were kept and stored in a location within the abattoir itself. It wasn’t securely stored in a safe or anything like that.”

Magistrate Damian Carroll expressed concerns Mr Eames was in a supervisory role and had initially misled police about stealing the stones.

He recorded a conviction and sentenced Eames to two months’ jail, wholly suspended. See more from the Toowoomba Chronicle here

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