A judge has warned he will impose the very maximum penalty available on a man accused of stabbing a horse, if he fails to change his attitude and continues to contest the charge.
The defendant, who is aged in his twenties but cannot be named at this stage for legal reasons, is charged with damaging the horse which belonged to another person and causing it unnecessary suffering on 10 June 2019.
He is further accused of being in possession of an offensive weapon namely a knife.
The injured horse later died from the injuries sustained.
During a hearing before Dungannon Magistrates Court a defending lawyer confirmed her client maintains his denials.
The case was listed to secure a date for hearing as a contest however District Judge Michael Ranaghan remarked: “I have read the details of this matter as it piqued my interest given the nature of the charges. I cannot see what the defence could be. Unless I’m missing something, there is no contest.”
The defence replied: “I have issued advices but my client continues to deny the offences.”
Judge Ranaghan continued: “Given what he allegedly did to that animal there’s only one outcome, especially if he contests it, and given the nature of the cruelty involved he is looking at the maximum I can do.”
He further urged the vet who provided evidence should not be required to attend court and “reluctantly” listed the matter for contest on 7 January.
Adjourning the case Judge Ranaghan told the defence: “I appreciate your endeavours to get this man to face reality However I’d like a personal warning to go from me that if he doesn’t see sense, I will be giving the maximum penalty and I may consider consecutive sentences if I can do so. That gives him a very firm position of where the court is on this. Hopefully the penny will drop.”
The matter will be reviewed ahead of contest in November.