Jail time over animal cruelty

By Jill Nicholas, news@dailypost.co.nz

What's been described as the worst type of animal cruelty of its kind dealt with by New Zealand courts has seen a home detention sentence substituted with a jail term.

In the High Court at Rotorua on Thursday Justice John Priestley quashed the home detention imposed on Waikino farmer Lourens Barend Erasmus in the Waihi District Court last October, substituting it with imprisonment of two years and a month.

He said Erasmus was entitled to credit for the 28 days he'd already served on home detention.

The home detention had been appealed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (formerly the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) imposed in the Waihi District Court last October by Judge Robert Wolff. Erasmus had pleaded guilty to three charges of wilfully ill-treating more than 100 cows in his dairy herd, admitting breaking the tails of 115 and the bones of others by hitting them with milking cups and steel pipes.

Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch said Erasmus' offending was the worst type of animal cruelty of its kind dealt with by any of the country's courts.

He described Erasmus' actions as "wilful, intentional and repetitive", emphasising the maximum penalty for such offending was five years imprisonment or a fine of up to $100,000.

His lawyer, Harry Edward, said Erasmus suffered from a psychological condition and associated mental health problems.

Justice Priestley deferred the start of the jail term until Monday and bailed him to his pastor's Waihi home and said he would release the reasons for his granting the appeal shortly.


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