Appeal upheld – Spirit ponies saga set to drag on

July 4, 2023 9:51 am in by

There’s no date been set yet for a fresh hearing on the Spirit of Tasmania polo ponies deaths, after the Full Bench of Tasmania’s Court of Criminal Appeal quashed a previous verdict.

The court has ruled Burnie Magistrate Leanne Topfer erred in law when finding ferry operator TT Line guilty of one animal welfare charge, and ordered the matter be reheard by a different magistrate.

The long running saga surrounding the deaths of 16 polo ponies now looks likely to drag on even longer, almost five and a half years after the deaths.

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TT-Line was convicted in the Burnie Magistrate’s Court in October last year on one count of using a method of management reasonably likely to result in unreasonable and unjustifiable pain and suffering to animals and appealed the decision.

The company was also fined on 28 counts related to not stalling the horses individually, which haven’t been challenged.

The horses died on an overnight crossing from Devonport to Melbourne in January 2018, with TT-Line being fined $75,000 in March this year.