Bird show judge denies involvement in illegal cockfighting
A SHOW judge caught with a pair of cockfighting spurs has denied any actual involvement in the underground activity.
Robert Foster, 77, from Munbilla, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court yesterday to one count of possession of prohibited spurs under the Animal Care and Protection Act.
Prosecutor Scott Seefeld said the maximum penalty was a $13,000 fine, but the RSPCA sought a $4000 fine.
Mr Seefeld said Foster had a previous conviction from 15 years ago, when he also pleaded guilty to possession of prohibited spurs.
For that offence he was fined $3000 and more than 120 American Fighting Fowl were seized.
In the new offence committed in July last year, Mr Seefeld said Foster was charged following a Queensland-wide investigation into members and past members of the Oxford Game Fowl Breeders Association.
The RSPCA also sought for Foster to be prohibited from owning game fowl.
In facts before the court inspectors went to his property and prior to a search Foster denied he had any cock fighting spurs.
A pair of spurs with sharpened rowels "in a good unused condition" were found wrapped in a purple cloth on an inside shelf near the front door.
Mr Seefeld said seven Old English Game Cocks and hens were found confined to pens or cages.
Leather leg bands used for tethering cock birds, handwritten cockfight records, along with books, magazines and photos relating to cockfighting were found.
Foster denied any involvement in cockfighting and claimed these items had been returned to him by the RSPCA in 2003.
Defence barrister Scott Neaves said there were seven birds but no evidence of tethering or cock fighting.
"These birds were not for the purpose of cock fighting. They were shown, exhibited in lawful ways," Mr Neaves said.
Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said the RSPCA did not accept his explanation that the spurs had been planted in his home.
Ms Sturgess fined him $3000, with 50% moiety going to the RSPCA.
Foster was prohibited from owning game fowl but can continue with his judging activities.