LIVE BAITING: Greyhound handler pleads guilty
A GREYHOUND handler who took part in live baiting training session using a live piglet that died from bite injuries at the Churchable property of former greyhound trainer Tom Noble, was sentenced to an 18-month probation order for his role in the offending.
Matthew Kenneth Lewis, 30, pleaded guilty in the District Court at Ipswich to one count of serious animal cruelty on August 22, 2014.
Convicted of the offence, the Crown charge related to an incident where Lewis with intent to cause pain had unlawfully killed an animal.
Crown prosecutor Noel Needham said Lewis was 27 at the time and the case involved greyhounds and "blooding", with Lewis assisting in live baiting that was tied up in the Tom Noble court matters.
In submission like cases already dealt with were used as comparable sentences for consideration by Judge Dennis Lynch QC.
Mr Needham said Lewis was present with other people and placed multiple greyhounds into a holding box.
Some dogs were muzzled, others were not, and there had been some biting of the live piglet which was tied by a rope around its abdomen to the lure arm.
The dogs were trialled as the piglet was spun around the track.
Mr Needham said it was obvious the piglet had been in pain, squealing, and after two hours appeared to be dead and the dogs lost interest.
"He (Lewis) had an active role in handling the dogs that day," Mr Needham said.
"Much has been said about it being a barbaric practice.
"It (live baiting court cases) had quite large consequences for the racing community at large."
Defence barrister James Godbolt said Lewis now has no ongoing association with greyhounds.
He said Lewis grew up on a vegetable farm in the Lockyer Valley and attended school at Laidley.
He was a dad of three children from three different relationships, and now lives with his mother.
He'd been diagnosed as suffering from anxiety and depression.
Judge Lynch said the serious animal cruelty offence took place at the notorious greyhound training premises of Tom Noble.
He said a live piglet was used that day and some dogs permitted to maul it - "it died as a result of the treatment it was subjected to".
"You were handling the dogs. Putting them in starting boxes and catching the dogs after they were trained," Judge Lynch said.
"However, your culpability is less serious than others involved."
Judge Lynch noted that Lewis was previously before an Ipswich court charged with an animal cruelty offence in 2016 when a captive animal was injured by a dog.
He said Lewis put the rooster in a hessian bag at his own property and allowed a greyhound to maul it.
Lewis was put on probation with no conviction recorded for that that offence.
Judge Lynch said live greyhound baiting will no longer be tolerated.
He sentenced Lewis to probation, a conviction recorded for the offence at Churchable.