Animal cruelty charges stand

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 19/12/2013

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The seven-year saga of one of New Zealand's worst animal cruelty cases has ended, with the Dannevirke couple behind the mass mistreatment of dogs and cats failing to have their convictions overturned by the highest court in the country.

Former animal breeders David and Daryl Balfour's attempt to have animal cruelty convictions overturned hit a brick wall yesterday when the Supreme Court dismissed their appeal.

The couple were found guilty in 2011 of failing to prevent the suffering of dogs and cats, and ill-treating cats.

The charges stem from March 5, 2007, when SPCA inspectors raided their property.

They found 161 cats and 87 dogs living in poor conditions, and many of them had to be destroyed.

The couple were sentenced in July last year, and banned from owning any cats, dogs, puppies or kittens for 20 years.

They are also unable to run a business like they previously had for 20 years.

They went to the Court of Appeal earlier this year to try to have their convictions overturned, but failed.

However, they were let off paying nearly $28,000 in costs to the SPCA.

They then went to the Supreme Court to once again try to have their convictions overturned.

In their judgment released yesterday, Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, Justice Susan Glazebrook and Justice William Young said the Balfours' reasons for appealing further were not good enough.

The Balfours said the trial did not exclude illegally obtained evidence, being charged representatively was unjustified, and two expert witnesses should not have been used as one was not impartial and the other did not disclose their diary notes.

But the judges said there was no risk of a substantial miscarriage of justice, and the Court of Appeal had already addressed the Balfours' issues in detail.

The Balfours now have no avenue to appeal their convictions, as the Supreme Court is the highest point of appeal in New Zealand after replacing the Privy Council's role in 2004.

The Balfours could not be contacted, and their lawyer Eric Forster did not respond to requests for comment.

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- Manawatu Standard

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