A judge has refused to throw out seal-bashing charges against Jemaal Peter Roy Large.
Large, 37, of Wairau Valley, is set to stand trial in October for wilfully ill-treating 23 seals by clubbing them to death with a galvanised steel pipe at Ohau Point, near Kaikoura.
Large had applied to the court for a discharge. At a hearing on May 31, his lawyer David Clark argued the seals were in a wild state, and it was not unlawful under the Animal Welfare Act to kill any animal in a wild state.
Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber opposed the application, saying the relevant section of the act was not intended to create an exemption for the killing protected animals such as seals.
In his reserved decision released to the Express yesterday, Judge Tony Zohrab dismissed the application for discharge, saying the primary purpose of the Animal Welfare Act was to reform the law in relation to animals and to prevent them being ill-treated.
The alleged actions of Large in killing the seals could not be protected by section 175(a) of the act, Judge Zohrab says in the decision.
The charges related to the death of 23 seals, which had been beaten to death at night for no purpose, he said.
"Under the . . . act, injured or sick marine mammals . . . are afforded special consideration . . . In my view, so should 23 apparently healthy seals on a beach at night."
A co-accused as already been through the court system.
Large's trial is due to start on October 18 before a judge in Blenheim District Court.
- The Marlborough Express