Costs wiped in animal cruelty case
A Dannevirke husband and wife's bid to overturn their animal cruelty convictions in the Court of Appeal has failed.
But former animal breeders David and Daryl Balfour have been let off paying nearly $28,000 in costs to the SPCA for failing to prevent the suffering of dogs and cats and ill-treating cats.
In a judgement released yesterday the Court of Appeal found ordering them to pay the costs, on top of the $12,500 fine they each received when initially sentenced, was not "just and reasonable".
The appeals against their original convictions disqualifying them from having any new cats or dogs for the next 20 years were dismissed.
The marathon cruelty case reached the Court of Appeal in July - more than six years after the SPCA discovered animals on the Balfours rural Tararua property living in dingy conditions reeking of urine.
SPCA inspectors raided their property on March 5, 2007, and found 161 cats and 87 dogs living in poor conditions.
Most of the cats and many of the dogs had to be destroyed.
The Balfours' appeal had centred around their belief they were denied the right to a fair trial, that expert veterinarian evidence was biased and that the sentence against them was excessive.
Justice Douglas White said in the judgement there was no evidence to suggest this was the case. But Justice White agreed the Balfours could not reasonably be expected to pay the SPCA's costs "in the circumstances of the case".
This was because there was a lack of evidence to show that the Balfours would be able to pay the costs, given that they were disqualified from running a business like what they had for the next 20 years, Justice White said.