An animal husband or wife will not be charged with animal cruelty when they are found guilty of inflicting cruelty to their animal, a Supreme Court judge has ruled.
Key points:Justice Simon Leong found there was a clear risk of causing unnecessary suffering to the animalVictims have been identified, including a baby and a baby-sitter, who were suffering from mental illnessVictims are now in foster careThe court heard the defendants were known to the victimThe court was told the defendant was not the husband of the baby who suffered mental illness, the mother of the child, the father of the toddler and the father’s wife.
Justice Simon leong found the defendant did not have a right to be alone in their house and would not be able to care for the child if they were in his care.
He said there was clear risk to the child and that the defendant had a “special responsibility” to care and protect it.
He found there were “strong reasons to believe” the defendant could not be expected to be in a reasonable state of mind when she was feeding the child.
The court also heard there was no evidence to suggest the defendant “could not care for” the baby in a responsible manner.
Justice Leong said the defendant’s actions were “extremely severe”.
“The child was a very fragile, vulnerable, young baby and I would like to make it clear that I do not consider that any reasonable person would be in the circumstances which the defendant describes,” he said.
“I find that the respondent is in a position of extreme vulnerability, the child is a very vulnerable child, a very young child and I do find that that is the most significant factor that has led me to the decision to charge her.”
Justice Leung found the defendants “had a very special responsibility” and it was a “huge responsibility” for them to care their animal.
“The respondent’s conduct is so extreme that it has caused the child great suffering,” he wrote in his decision.
“There are no excuses for the respondent’s behaviour, as she has taken a life in the course of her conduct.”
Justice Lai said the child’s mental illness and mental health problems were the “major factors” behind the decision.
Topics:cases-and-trials,animal-welfare,law-crime-and‑justice,crime,crime-prevention,crime—state-issues,animal,animal–science,human-interest,courts-and/or-trios,victoria-6700,wollongong-6750,qld,vic,canberra-2600,ararat-2650,sa,nsw,australiaFirst posted June 30, 2019 19:33:21Contact Paul KellyMore stories from Victoria