Farmer seeks case review

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 15 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

A FORMER Redpa dairy farmer, who was last month found guilty of animal cruelty, has applied for his case to be reviewed in the Supreme Court, the Launceston Magistrates Court heard today.

In his sentencing submission defence barrister Greg Barns did not dispute the prosecution's arguments regarding the cruelty and severity of offences committed by Roderic Neil Mitchell, involving as many as 188 cows.

Mr Barns also did not dispute evidence regarding Mr Mitchell's repeated refusals to comply with advice and directions given to him by animal welfare officers, police, dairy advisers and other farmers.

He said Mr Mitchell, 33, had arrived in Tasmania aged in his 20s, over-confident after earning quick profits from a sale of irrigation water rights in Victoria.

Mr Barns said Mr Mitchell had been out of his depth.

"This is a young man who has not stuck to his knitting. A snowball effect, of a young person who thinks they have the answers, and who are not prepared to listen to those with knowledge," he said.

Mr Barns said it had been suggested, in evidence, that Mr Mitchell's behaviours and lack of insight had been consistent with a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"That doesn't say that this means he wasn't able to understand directions, it's simply context," he said.

Mr Barnes said Mr Mitchell's offences were not among the worst forms of animal abuse, because they did not involve the sadistic torture or killing of animals.

Prosecutor Harry Virs said a custodial sentence was appropriate, given Mr Mitchell's actions in prolonging the court action against him which had begun in 2007, his lack of remorse and repeated refusal to follow directions and advice.

Mr Virs said Mr Mitchell had admitted, while under cross examination, that he had been actively engaged in efforts to have animal welfare officers removed from investigations because "they were sabotaging my farm".

He said when police and animal welfare officers arrived at the Redpa farm to seize cows on July 21, 2007, their path was blocked by Mr Mitchell's tractor.

Mr Virs said when asked to move the tractor, Mr Mitchell told them it was inoperable.

"When they went to another part of the property ... he started up the tractor and parked it in front of a livestock truck, to transfer stock to Cressy station," he said.

Mr Virs said Mr Mitchell had been asked in cross examination, "Is it justifiable in your view to starve a cow".

He said Mr Mitchell had paused for as long as 10 seconds before answering, "It depends on what your definition of starve is".

Mr Barns said Mr Mitchell now operated a profitable fencing business in Victoria, but still had debts of about $1 million in relation to the Redpa property.

Magistrate Reg Marron yesterday extended Mr Mitchell's bail until sentencing on September 18.


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