Seal petition 'not evidence'
A judge would not look at an international petition calling for accused Kaikoura seal basher Jemaal Peter Roy Large to receive the maximum penalty if convicted, the chief district court judge says.
The online petition organised by South African nonprofit organisation The Seals of Nam calls for Large, 37, to be given the maximum penalty if convicted of killing 23 fur seals with a galvanised pipe in November 2010. The petition has received more than 9000 signatures and environmental campaigner Pete Bethune has agreed to deliver the petition to the Blenheim court.
However, chief district court judge Jan-Marie Doogue said when it came to sentencing a petition was an improper attempt to influence the court and would not be considered by a judge.
Judges were expected to be aware of public concerns, but could not be influenced when it came to sentencing specific cases.
"The judge can only hear the evidence before the court. A petition is not evidence, and couldn't be presented to the judge, or taken into account by the judge. In a sentencing, a petition would be an improper attempt to influence the court," she said.
A judicial review will be heard in the High Court in Wellington on December 3 to decide if the charges against Large can proceed.
If the review is unsuccessful a trial date will be set on January 22.
- The Marlborough Express