Men fined for 'despicable' slaughter of farmer's sheep

DWAYNE Walsh and Johnathon Ballard walked away from Roma Magistrates Court with more than $7000 in fines.

Ballard, 18, and Walsh, 41, pleaded guilty to killing an animal with intent to steal charge for a crime on December 13.

Walsh also pleaded guilty to discharging a weapon in a public place.

The crime occurred 50km south of Surat at the Basin Downs Reserve, where the two men were camping.

The event turned illegal when Walsh shot a sheep in the head and hung it up on hooks.

Police prosecutor Wayne Bushell said after reading out the events "to knock off someone's sheep is a low and despicable crime".

The sheep's owners were seeking restitution of $114.

The two men's defence counsel said they were not aware the reserve was considered a "public place" when they shot the sheep.

Magistrate Andrew Cridland called for a break to think over the matters.

When he returned he told Walsh the maximum penalties he faced for both crimes could equal nine years imprisonment.

"Killing an animal with intent to steal is a type of crime that calls for deterrent penalties," Magistrate Cridland said.

He described stealing from farmers as having a "detrimental effect" on all parts of the community.

Magistrate Cridland said he hoped it was the first and last time Walsh and Ballard would appear in court.

Walsh was handed a $4000 fine for his two crimes and ordered to pay $57 of restitution to the owners.

Ballard was fined $3000 and also ordered to pay $57 of restitution to the owners.



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