Kitten torturer gets green light to apply for blue card
A FORMER soldier who was involved in the torture of a three-week-old kitten has won the right to a blue card, allowing him to work with children.
Ben Charles David Lightbody was 21 in 2004, when he was one of a group of five Australian Defence Force soldiers involved in the incident.
Lightbody rode a motorcycle, dragging a kitten which had a rope noose around its neck, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard.
When he returned from dragging the kitten along, the animal was in obvious distress, the Hervey Bay tribunal hearing was told.
However, Lightbody again took off with the kitten dragging behind him, after other soldiers said the animal was not yet dead.
He was convicted of a cruelty to animals charge, fined $2000 and disqualified from driving for six months, with no conviction recorded.
He later accepted a forced discharge from the army.
Lightbody applied for a blue card in 2018 to work with children because his wife wanted to operate a family daycare centre and he wanted to be involved in children's sport, but it was denied because of the animal cruelty offence.
The QCAT finding said the Tribunal accepted Lightbody was rider of the motorcycle, but he was not otherwise involved.
Evidence provided to the Tribunal from Lightbody's mother and father said he had matured and grown into a "strong, outstanding citizen" with the support of his wife and family since leaving the army.
"The Tribunal is not satisfied that those actions of the applicant some 15 years ago mean that it is appropriate to conclude that the applicant will commit such actions again," the finding read.
"More so, the Tribunal is not satisfied that those actions of the applicant are actions that demonstrate a general propensity to cruelty or exploitation of children, or indeed any lack of empathy towards the needs of children.
"The Tribunal accepts that (Lightbody) sincerely regrets his actions.
"He was affected by peer pressure and he was immature."
Lightbody, who is married and has children, rescued two dogs from a refuge.
The Tribunal decided Lightbody was able to act in the best interests of children and it set aside the Director-General's decision, making him eligible for a blue card.