TWO 17-year-old boys cried in Orange Children’s Court yesterday when Magistrate Terry Lucas admonished them for their “abominable” and “heinous” acts of animal cruelty, after five sheep were mauled by pig dogs and stabbed on a district property in May.
The court heard the first teenager to face the magistrate had the least involvement in the attack, carried out with a second juvenile and Warren Alfred Moses, 22.
Evidence before the court showed the teenager played no role in the animal cruelty, but took this photograph, which was widely circulated after appearing on a social media hunting website, and helped load the dead sheep on the back of Moses’ utility.
The boy’s mother spoke on her son’s behalf and, crying, told the court he realised the consequences of his actions.
“After he was released on bail he just sobbed and sobbed. It was so loud and went on for so long I had to put my ear plugs in,” she said.
“He has changed his life now, works a lot and he’s so sorry for what he’s done.”
The mother said at the time of the sheep attack her son was not living at home.
“I was not supporting him because of the type of people he was mixing with,” she said.
His solicitor Andrew Rolfe asked the court to impose a community order as an alternative to jail, saying his client had been assessed as unsuitable for community service.
He said his client was focused on doing the right thing and had a full-time job, where he works between 40 and 70 hours a week in the hope of turning his life around.
Mr Lucas said he believed the juvenile had been influenced by peer pressure on the night.
“You said from the start you were sorry, so don’t hang around with bad people,” he said.
The sentencing for the second juvenile, who was accompanied in court by his father, was interrupted when the teenager changed his story, saying he did not get out of the ute on the night and did not use the knife on the sheep, contradicting evidence before the court.
However, after an adjournment, the juvenile’s solicitor Arjun Chhabra said his client had decided to stick to his original account of events, admitting to participating in the attack on the sheep.
The 17-year-old cried as his father said the incident had brought shame on the family’s name.
He thought his son’s actions were a reflection of his parenting skills.
“I feel devastated and embarrassed we are in this situation,” the father said.
“It is hard being a single parent, holding down a full-time job and then you find you child is in trouble,” he said.
Addressing the crying teenager, Mr Lucas addressed the crying teenager, telling him he had an option to send him to jail for two years.
“I am very sorry. I won’t do it again and you will never see me here again if you give me a go,” the teenager said.
Both juveniles had no conviction recorded.
The first was put on 12-months probation and the second placed under a more serious control order, to be supervised by Probation and Parole.
Both were fined $10 for trespassing.