Accused swan killer wins bid to keep identity secret

By Sandra Conchie of the Bay of Plenty Times -
Photo / File photo
Photo / File photo

A man accused of animal cruelty offences relating to black swans being allegedly mowed down by a jet boat on Tauranga Harbour has won his bid to keep his identity kept secret.

The man who has been granted interim name and occupation suppression faced three charges of ill-treatment of an animal, black swans, when he and another man appeared before Tauranga Community Magistrate Sue Howell today.

The allegations against the first man is that the ill-treatment resulted in the swans being seriously injured or impaired after being hit on or about December 26 last year .

The first defendant and the other man, who has also been granted name suppression, face a further unrelated animal ill-treatment charge stemming from a separate incident in 2011.

Both men were arrested after a joint investigation by SPCA and Fish & Game New Zealand after footage of a boat allegedly running the swans down aired on TV3 in March this year.

A warrant for arrest had been issued for a third man also charged with the later charge who was evading a court summon being served on him, the court was told.

The first two men's lawyer, Mark Beech, successfully argued for name suppression on the grounds it would cause extreme hardship to his clients and their families, and to protect their rights to a fair trial given earlier "inaccurate" prior publicity about the alleged swan offences.

The Bay of Plenty Times argued in favour of publication, but Ms Howell said given the informant did not oppose the application she was prepared to grant suppression on an interim basis.

Both defendants were remanded on bail without pleas, and are due back in court on July 16, when the question of name suppression is expected to be revisited.

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