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Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Abuser names unreleased
The Ontario Court of Justice has dismissed charges of animal cruelty against a Vienna couple.
On Oct. 1, Justice Michael O'Dea accepted a Charter of Rights and Freedoms application from defence lawyer Robert Upsdell arguing that the search of a Chute Line property was illegal.
The charges were thereby dismissed. O'Dea provided reasons for his decision in an eight-page report distributed Tuesday.
"In my mind, the Crown has failed to prove the required cause and effect necessary for any of the three counts and they should be dismissed," says O'Dea in his decision.
"Basically they've been vindicated on all accounts," said Upsdell, who said his clients are happy with the outcome.
The Times-Journal was unable to contact a representative from the Crown attorney's office for comment.
According to O'Dea's decision, provided to the Times-Journal, a regional inspector for the OSPCA visited the property after receiving an anonymous call on May 17, 2006. She knocked on both doors at the defendant's home and after not receiving an answer, went to the area of a workshop and barn yelling "hello." A pony was located in a nearby pasture which, she testified, was in "immediate distress," and "its hooves were long and its coat was rough looking."
She left to contact a veterinarian and, upon her return, the female homeowner arrived. Shortly after, the veterinarian and male homeowner arrived. A certificate to seize the pony was issued after the defendant said he couldn't afford to do what was needed to deal with the pony.
"In the result, I find (the inspector's) walkabout on the ... farm violated their rights under section eight (of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) against unreasonable search and as a logical extension, I find the medical inspection and seizure of the pony violated section eight as well," O'Dea's decision reads. "That she could have eventually secured a warrant to permit her walkabout was never considered and a warrant would have allowed the eventual discovery of the evidence. This increases the flagrancy of her breach."
O'Dea also dismissed the evidence in the case.
"I believe the community as a whole would not tolerate the admission of evidence obtained in such a flagrant manner."
He didn't completely exonerate the couple.
"They knew the length of the hooves was abnormal and, by their own admission, agreed they ought to have been more attentive to the pony's needs," he said. "However, I am left with a doubt that they knew the failure to trim would actually result in pain or suffering."
"It's a bit of a stretch to call them criminals because they were careless," said Upsdell. "They could have been more careful than they were, but they shouldn't be labelled criminals for what happened here."
St. Thomas Times-Journal - Oct 18, 2007
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