It’s not fair! Animal activist cries foul over conviction
A vegan animal cruelty activist who had a criminal conviction recorded for trespassing on a Queensland chicken farm and a piggery has launched a bid to avoid the black mark on her criminal record, arguing her friend got off with just a fine, so it's "not fair".
Hayley Marie Adams, 22, an aspiring singer from Bonogin in the Gold Coast hinterland, has filed an appeal in the District Court in Toowoomba asking the court to overturn her conviction on two counts of trespass recorded in Toowoomba Magistrates Court by Magistrate Kay Ryan on September 1.
Adams was convicted of trespassing at the Williams Eggs in Canningvale, near Warwick in southeast Queensland, and large-scale piggery Cameron Pastoral, at Pittsworth, between December 31, 2018 and January 3, 2019 and July 12 and July 15, 2019, court documents state.
She was sentenced to 50 hours community service.
In her appeal Adams argues Magistrate Ryan should have just slapped her with a fine because "trespass is a minor offence".
"My co-accused (Leah Whetton) received the exact same charges as me and only received a fine," Adams states in her notice of appeal filed on September 30.
"Leah has a history of 22 charges and I have a history of three charges. I don't think it's fair that my consequences are significantly higher when Leah and I received the same charges," Adams stated.
During her sentencing on September 1, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard Adams disregarded clearly signed biosecurity procedures and handled piglets and laying hens.
Adams, a vegan bakery worker and naturopathy student, cried as she was sentenced by Magistrate Ryan, who said there "had to be a penalty" due to her "continued pattern of behaviour".
A conviction was recorded because Adams has three prior finalised criminal charges for trespass, Magistrate Ryan said.
Adams, who lives in a spacious four-bedroom Queenslander on acreage in the Gold Coast hinterland, told The Courier Mail outside court that she didn't think her conviction was fair.
"It is bizarre that I have been labelled as a convicted criminal," she said.
"When we enter farms we are only armed with a camera, we want to be nonviolent and peaceful," she said.
She said she was hoping to avoid a conviction so she can fulfill her dream of travelling to the US to perform as a musician.
She filed her appeal of Magistrate Ryan's sentence on September 30, just days after life-coaching student Whetton, 30, was fined $1000 and no conviction was recorded after she pleaded guilty to the same break-ins at the egg farm and piggery in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.
Whetton is a former real estate agent and the founder of Meat the Victims, a group which described itself as a "new generation of the growing community of citizens willing to disobey unjust laws together to abolish animal exploitation".
She was accompanied to court by a group of supports with placards featuring graphic images of slaughtered and dying animals.
Whetton and Adams were accompanied by bikini model and vegan animal activist Lauren McGeachin, 28, during the "rescue raid" on the Cameron Pastoral Company's Pittsworth piggery last year.
McGeachin was sentenced to 90 hours of community service and ordered to pay $300 in compensation for several stolen piglets.
Brianna Lee Thauer, 21, pleaded guilty earlier this year to entering Cameron Pastoral Company's Pittsworth piggery with intent and stealing six piglets in November last year.
Thauer did not have a conviction recorded but was given 12 months' probation and ordered to pay $300 restitution.
Adams was originally charged with more serious charges of theft of stock and entering property with intent, but the charges were downgraded to trespass.
Adams told The Courier Mail that the case was next in court on October 27.
Originally published as It's not fair! Vegan activist cries foul over conviction