No jail time for greyhound live baiter
ANIMAL activists have slammed a court's decision to keep greyhound live baiter Tom Noble out of jail.
The Queensland Court of Appeal on Friday found although the Ipswich greyhound trainer acted in an "inhumanly cruel and protracted" manner when he strapped live piglets, possums and rabbits to a dog lure, he did not deserve to go to jail.
In a separate Court of Appeal decision, one of Noble's live baiting customers had their fine reduced because of their cooperation with police.
After being covertly recorded at his Churchable property using living animals to train greyhounds Noble found himself at the heart of the live-baiting scandal.
Noble and his associates at his training facility would tie small animals onto dog training rigs and sent them around the track with dogs chasing them. Noble charged other trainers $5 to use his facility.
Many of the animals strapped to the training rig were attacked, others were injured or killed on the rig as they rotated around the track.
In August 2016, Noble pleaded guilty to serious animal cruelty and was sentenced to three years jail, wholly suspended.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath appealed the sentence arguing Noble should have spent some time in prison for the offending.
But on Friday, Court of Appeal justice Robert Gotterson found Noble's actions were "inhumanly cruel", but did not believe he should spend actual time in jail.
"In my view, it was not unreasonable, in all the circumstances, for him not to have required (Noble) to serve actual prison time," he said.
Justice Gotterson pointed to Noble's age, health and the fact that he is the sole carer for his ill wife in dismissing the appeal.
"It is beyond question that (Noble's) conduct was inhumanly cruel and protracted. For other offenders, like offending might well be punished with actual imprisonment in the sound exercise of sentencing discretion."
But an Animal Welfare League Queensland spokesperson said the organisation was stunned Noble would spend no time in jail for his crimes.
"It begs the question of what exactly warrants jail time if Tom Noble can walk away with no time at all or consequence for his atrocious actions towards innocent animals over the years," the spokesperson said.
"How serious does an act have to be to warrant jail time? Once again animals are have been left voiceless in the fight against injustice."
The court also reduced the fine of another Ipswich trainer who trained his dog at Noble's property.
The hobby trainer, who the court did not name, took his dog to Noble's property where he saw one of Noble's associate's tying a live piglet to a lure.
The man then took his muzzled dog to the starting stall and let it train with the live bait.
He paid Noble $5 for the session and left in less than 30 minutes. But the session was caught on covert cameras.
He was charged with animal cruelty and fined $5000 at the Ipswich District Court. At the Court of Appeal the trainer claimed the fine was manifestly excessive and no conviction should have been recorded because of his need for a Blue Card.
Justice Gotterson agreed the fine was too high as the trainer had offended just once and had helped police with their investigations. The fine was reduced to $3300 but the recording of the conviction was maintained.