© iStockphoto.com/Carmen Martínez Banús

Crowing cock costs $4000

A ROOSTER accused of depriving its neighbours of sleep was found guilty of excessive crowing in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday.

Its owner Nick Smith represented himself against a charge of keeping an animal that caused a nuisance, and worked his way through cross examination of Gympie Regional Council witnesses to try and prove the rooster was not his and that his neighbours were trying to stir up trouble.

The court heard the complainant, Lisa Rech, had endured broken sleep just about every night for two-and-a-half years and after no success at trying to sort the problem amicably, resorted to recording the rooster's relentless crowing and playing it back on speakers set up near the defendant's house.

She said she would play the recording when the rooster woke her up because “if she was awake so should they be”.

The court heard this only lasted “a couple of months” until someone snipped the wires.

Gympie Regional Council, legal representative Greg Wildie tendered about 50 recordings of the cock crowing during the night and said Ms Rech had more than 100 recordings stored on her computer.

Mr Wildie said Mr Smith's rooster was deemed by council to be a nuisance under the local laws aimed at animals and Mr Smith had failed to get rid of it as directed. Instead, the rooster was kept in a box at night until its owners decided it was cruel.

IN his defence, Nick Smith brought forward four witnesses to help his case, three of which were told their testimonies were not relevant to the matter before the court.

When his wife Karen testified, she said the feathered “felon” was her pet and the recording Ms Rech had blasted them with was that of her rooster.

In summing up his case, Mr Smith asked Gympie Magistrate Maxine Baldwin if she would be game to tell her husband to get rid of his pet rooster.

“I certainly would be game to tell my husband to remove the rooster, but I can't speak for everyone,” Magistrate Maxine Baldwin replied and told Mr Smith his own witnesses probably helped prosecution's case.

She said Mrs Smith's admission that she owned the rooster and it lived on their property, as well as her statement that Ms Rech's recordings were of her pet rooster, established the sound on the tapes were not sound effects and helped find Mr Smith guilty of disobeying a local law by failing to get rid of it.

Mr Smith's witnesses did help the court establish that his chook pen was close to the property's boundary and separated from his house by a double block garage, but that the chook pen was within earshot of Ms Rech's bedroom.

After listening to the tapes and deliberating on both sides of the argument, Mrs Baldwin found the rooster's crowing was enough to disrupt and inhibit sleep, therefore finding Council justified in issuing a notice to remove the animal.

Nick Smith, of Cootharaba Road, was found guilty of failing to comply with the notice. He was fined $2000 and ordered to pay Council's court costs of $2000. He promised the rooster would go.

Gympie Times


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