25-29 March 2019, Days 1-5, Hearing
17-19 July 2019, Days 6-8, Hearing
20 September 2019, Day 9, Submissions
13 November 2019, Day 10, Verdict
The trial of the Lakesland Hen Rescuers
VERDICT! Lakesland Hen Rescuers Case – 13 Nov 2019, Day 10
Today in Liverpool Court the Magistrate found the Lakesland Hen Rescuers who had defended the charges against them guilty of aggravated trespass but not guilty of stealing (chickens). The defendants had argued their actions were necessary to avoid the unconscionable pain and suffering endured by the approximately 4,000 hens in that shed on that day in June last year, when authorities refused to take immediate action or provide veterinary care to assist the suffering and dying hens. The Court rejected that argument. In sentencing the Court did not record a conviction for those who had pleaded guilty early in the proceedings, instead handing them a 12-month good behaviour bond. Those who defended the charges were given a $1,500 fine, including on the grounds that their attempted rescue was vigilantism.
In all it is a terrible indictment of our animal protection system that those persons who risked life and limb to render immediate assistance to suffering animals should be charged with criminal offences including aggravated trespass and stealing. We need a properly funded enforcement body that is independent of both government and industry to ensure all sentient animals, including the millions of egg-layer hens in sheds and cages around this State, are properly protected by the law. The ADO is proud to have represented 8 of these brave persons throughout this case led by our extremely learned Counsel Peter Singleton, and we commend all the defendants for their compassion and concern for the wellbeing of all animals.