Man kills possum with homemade spear
AN East Brisbane man fed up with animals eating his garden stabbed a possum with a crude spear he fashioned using a knife attached to a broomstick, a court has heard.
Former soldier Ashley Stanley, 65, was charged with animal cruelty in June last year when neighbours discovered the dead possum hanging from its tail with two stab wounds.
"Witnesses stated that they had seen the defendant spraying trees, fences and possums directly with chilli and garlic water, and he was often seen and heard outside at night hitting possums off the top of his water tank, fence and trees with a stick that looked like a broom handle," court documents revealed.
Barrister Michael Williams today told Brisbane Magistrates Court that on the evening of June 15, 2017, neighbours saw Stanley stab the possum with a spear he had crafted by "attaching a knife to the end of a broomstick".
An autopsy revealed the animal died from "significant blood loss" and that its thigh had been punctured the whole way through by the spear with another 1cm puncture wound to its shoulder.
Mr Williams said the animal would have suffered "unreasonable and unjustifiable pain".
Defence lawyer Ben Taylor said Stanley was frustrated by possums continually destroying the garden that he had planted while recovering from illness and had brought him "great comfort".
He said Stanley had tried a range of methods to keep the possums out, including netting, wind chimes, solar lights, a commercial possum repellent and a combination of chilli and garlic water, before eventually stabbing the animal.
"He has been driven to completely abandoning the garden," Mr Taylor said.
"He suffered extreme problems from the possums destroying his garden and occupying a tree near their bedroom window each night created so much noise it disturbed their sleep."
Mr Taylor said Stanley, who pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty, had been in the Australian Army for 25 years and now worked with a deep sea engineering company overseas.
"He is a man who prides himself on his good reputation and good character and the impact of being charged … has had a significant impact on him, his wellbeing and his life," he said.
Magistrate Tina Previtera took Stanley "good character" and health issues into account during her sentencing.
Stanley was fined $3500 and ordered to pay and additional $1399 in costs.