Animal cruelty case shocks Gympie judge
THE dog bite that led Jessie James Clarke to Gympie Magistrates Court two weeks ago might seem a just fate, now that another court has seen evidence of Clarke's cruelty to animals.
Clarke, 22, pleaded guilty in Gympie District Court on Wednesday to his part in the torture of a wild bird, identified in the charge as a dusky moorhen, at Chatsworth on November 17, 2015.
That event, dealt with as an example of the relatively new offence of serious animal cruelty, was linked to drug offences between August 26 and September 18 last year and a weapons offence on September 18.
A phone video shown to the court depicted a group of young men, including Clarke, laughing as they repeatedly "zapped” the bird with a hand-held cattle prod.
Allowing for six months already served in pre-sentence custody, Judge Leanne Clare sentenced Clarke to two months' jail, suspended to hang over his head for two years.
It will be concurrent with 18 months for the drug matters, including multiple counts of supplying methylamphetamine, one of supplying marijuana and other charges alleging possessing them, as well as the amphetamine related drugs, MDA and MDMA.
He was also dealt with for possessing a cattle prod and items used for drug supply and use.
"The capacity to inflict such pain on another living creature is hard to fathom,” Judge Clare told Clarke during sentencing.
"The fact that it was used for group amusement is the kind of behaviour that cannot be tolerated in a civilised society.
"Gratuitous cruelty is an element missing from live baiting.
"At 20, you were old enough to know better. One might expect a 20 year old to have a conscience.”
She said the parole she ordered would involve closer supervision than the suspended sentence, but the suspension would hang over his head for longer.
Clarke's animal-linked problems began on August 15, when a magistrate fined him $300 for a February 17 assault, in which a courageous dog bit him in defence of its master, the mark then helping police prove the offence.