Man convicted of sex acts with horse claims consent
WARNING GRAPHIC DETAILS
THE definition of abuse was questioned when a Grafton man accused of animal cruelty over two sexual acts on a horse faced court yesterday.
Daniel Raymond Webb-Jackson, 31, pleaded not guilty to committing an act of cruelty to an animal committed when he broke into stables on Turf St on January 22.
According to undisputed police facts, the stable owners had suspected some disturbances on their premises in the month earlier and installed CCTV cameras as a security measure.
The evening of January 22, a trainer at the stables received a mobile alert via the CCTV of a disturbance at the stables and Webb-Jackson was caught on camera approaching a stable.
The police were contacted and when they arrived were taken by the trainer into the property, where the stable doors to two male horses and one female horse were opened.
Webb-Jackson was found crouching in the corner of a fourth open stable, where he was arrested after a short scuffle with police and taken to Grafton Police Station.
During police interviews he admitted to committing two sexual acts with a horse but claimed it had given consent.
In his submissions, the DPP prosecutor argued the definition of animal cruelty included unjust abuse and that inflicting a sexual act on an animal would constitute abuse.
In reply, solicitor Greg Coombes put forward two dictionary definitions of abuse and argued they included consent and harm, and that his client believed there was consent and there was no evidence the acts caused harm to the horse.
Mr Coombes said while his client's actions were morally wrong, they highlighted the trouble the courts have between morals and the law, and that while the acts were against society's morals, the magistrate would need to look at the evidence in the case to decide if they were against the law.
In her judgment, magistrate Karen Stafford said the basis of the animal cruelty act was to ensure humans protect the welfare and the manner of treatment of animals, and the definition of cruelty must be considered in light of the objective of the act.
Magistrate Stafford said the two sexual acts of allowing a horse to fellate Webb-Jackson and digitally penetrating the horse amounted to acts of cruelty.
According to police facts, Webb-Jackson said he went to the stables on the night in question to chill out and have oral and digital sex with a horse and masturbate.
He went to two stables and after feeling around the horses realised they were male and he left the stable.
In the third stable he approached a filly but after feeling it and saw it had a face covering on left.
In the third stable Webb-Jackson said he found another filly, and that the horse smelt his crotch and winked at him, which he believed was the animal giving consent.
Webb-Jackson was found guilty of animal cruelty and received an aggregate sentence which included other charges committed while on bail for the animal cruelty charge.
In evidence, Webb-Jackson said he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was prepared to follow a community treatment plan for his mental health.
"I don't want to spend the rest of my life in jail," he said.
Webb-Jackson was jailed for 10 months with a non-parole period of four months and with time served will be eligible for release next week. He was also fined $700.