Animal Cruelty Offences

Recently, I was reading the news only to come across an article titled “Woy Woy Man in court over allegedly shooting dog with spear gun”.

As a foster carer for Denise at PAWS, and as a lover of all creatures great and small, I was absolutely shocked.

As I continued reading the article, the owner of the dog, a three year old Labradoodle named Millie, was named.

To my disbelief, it was my cousin’s wife Kim.

I immediately picked up the phone to call Kim and offer whatever assistance I could to her and to poor Millie in their time of need.

After we discussed Millie, who remains in a critical condition, my cousins daughter asked of me: what are the penalties for animal cruelty?

Put plainly, and without my own opinions and feelings on the subject added, the law is as follows.

In New South Wales, section 530 of the Crimes Act 1900 states the law on serious animal cruelty:

Serious animal cruelty:
(1) A person who, with the intention of inflicting severe pain:
     (a) tortures, beats or commits any other serious act of cruelty on an animal, and
     (b) kills or seriously injures or causes prolonged suffering to the animal,
     is guilty of an offence. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.
(1A) A person who, being reckless as to whether severe pain is inflicted:
     (a) tortures, beats or commits any other serious act of cruelty on an animal, and
     (b) kills or seriously injures or causes prolonged suffering to the animal,
     is guilty of an offence. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years.
(2) A person is not criminally responsible for an offence against this section if:
     (a) the conduct occurred in accordance with an authority conferred by or under the               Animal Research Act 1985 or any other Act or law, or
     (b) the conduct occurred in the course of or for the purposes of routine agricultural or           animal husbandry activities, recognised religious practices, the extermination of pest           animals or veterinary practice.

(3) In this section:”animal” means a mammal (other than a human being), a bird or a reptile.”kill or seriously injure” an animal includes, in the case where the animal is used as a lure or kill in the manner referred to in section 21 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, cause or permit a dog to kill or seriously injure the animal.”serious act of cruelty” on an animal includes the act of using the animal as a lure or kill in the manner referred to in section 21 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979. 

That is the state of the present law on the subject matter.

If it is not satisfactory to you, then you should contact your local member of parliament or write to them expressing your own opinion on the subject matter of animal cruelty.

Millie remains in a critical condition, but she is a fighter and she has youth on her side. She also has the love of a family and the support of so many member of the community who have donated towards her treatment and rehabilitation.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help Kim pay for the veterinary care Millie requires. Please visit the page for further information –

I will continue to follow this case and provide an update when it is appropriate.


Patrick Lott | Barrister

Clarence Chambers

Sydney NSW


**Update** 21 June 2018 Millie has miraculously survived the horrific cruelty inflicted upon her. It has taken a tremendous effort by the veterinary surgeons and nurses who treated her and a tremendous amount of love and care from her family. Thank you to everyone who donated to her cause – Patrick Lott

Domestic Assault – Unreliable Evidence – Case Dismissed


Yesterday, I completed a Local Court hearing for a Sydney man charged with an assault occasioning actual bodily harm against his former spouse. The allegation was extremely serious having regard to the Police Facts, and the Police had also sought an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO), as is to be expected when such an allegation is made.

The case was heard over three days, with the client maintaining his innocence and plea of not guilty.

On the third day, following a careful and considered two day cross-examination of the complainant, the Local Court Magistrate dismissed the charge and chose not to make an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order, stating that the evidence of the complainant was unreliable in many regards.

For young practitioners and for people facing similar allegations, these matters are often very difficult to contest because there are no independent witnesses, it is simply the evidence of the complainant and the evidence of the accused. That’s a tough spot for the client and a tough spot for his lawyers.

However, it is 2014 and we all live in an age of ‘electronics’ and ‘meta data’ and often without even knowing, we leave behind us evidence of where we have been, what time we were there, and who else we were with!

In preparing the above case, the Solicitor and I considered the forensic data that attaches itself to photographs, and we considered smartphone data that attaches itself to text messages and emails and facebook messages. Even the telephone billing records were used to reveal the location of phones by reference to the nearest signal tower and who was called and when and what was said. Importantly, it was this forensic approach that began to unravel and expose inconsistencies in the complainants version of events which ultimately led to the dismissal of the case.

Please don’t misconstrue the message in this post, because ‘genuine’ cases of domestic violence are abhorrent and we as a community, police and lawyers too, should work together to stamp it out.

That said, there have been and there will be ‘disingenuous’ claims of domestic violence. So, if you have a client facing a similar allegation remember we live in the age of ‘big brother’ and the data may be your only witness. Please feel welcome to give me a call and introduce yourself, I’m always happy to have a chat and assist you if I can with some forensic advice (02) 83791230


Police used “excessive, unnecessary, unlawful force” on Sydney Man


The Downing Centre District Court has heard that Police Officers used excessive, unnecessary and unlawful force in their arrest of a Sydney Man. The court has heard the man was handcuffed when he was sprayed with capsicum spray and ‘tasered’ multiple times. The man died at the scene. The case continues…

Click here to read more: Police charged with Assault