Seal-killing case decision comes closer

ACCUSED: Jemaal Peter Roy Large
ACCUSED: Jemaal Peter Roy Large

After more than two years of waiting, an end may be in sight in the case of a man accused of killing 23 seals at Ohau Point near Kaikoura in 2010, a lawyer involved in the case says.

Jemaal Peter Roy Large, 37, of Wairau Valley, faces a charge of wilfully mistreating the seals by clubbing them to death with a galvanised steel pipe on November 26, 2010.

Large was charged on June 27 2011, but the case has yet to be heard after Large's lawyer, David Clark, sought to have the charge dismissed, arguing that under the law Large was legally hunting the seals.

In a decision by the High Court in December, Justice Joseph Williams refused to dismiss the charges, but further explained the law saying it was possible Large was legally hunting and a judge would need to hear the Crown case to decide whether the charges could be dismissed.

A hearing date was due to be set on Tuesday, but the telephone conference to decide it had to be delayed until January 30.

Mr Clark was unavailable for comment yesterday.

However, Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber said the latest delay was not significant. He was confident a new hearing date would be set next week, which would finally see the charges dismissed or the case go to trial.

The Crown was keen to make its case, he said. "We want to get it on in a hearing."

The Marlborough Express