In re a dog (Shepparton Magistrates Court, Murphy M., Shepparton News, 18 September 2013, p. 3)

The prosecution of an individual for the shooting of a domestic dog at large was reported in the Shepparton News on 18 September 2013.


The farming property of a resident in the Goulburn Valley was repeatedly entered by a neighbour’s dog. While there it would eat scraps off his barbeque, destroy property, enter paddocks and worry livestock. In addition to the trespass that this involved (1), the resident had concerns for the welfare of his infant son. The individual eventually seized the dog while it was at large on his property, drove it some distance away and then shot it.

Charges & Prehearing

The accused was charged with theft, discharging a firearm in a dangerous manner and aggravated cruelty and retained Mr Simon Pogue of Riordan Legal to represent him.

Relevant law

The Domestic Animals Act entitles the owner of livestock to destroy a dog or cat found at large near livestock (2).


Mr Pogue succeeded in having the charges of theft and discharge of a firearm withdrawn. On a plea of guilty to the charge of aggravated cruelty, he submitted that no conviction should be recorded, given the accused’s concerns for his family’s safety (3) and the stigma attached to a charge of aggravated cruelty. Considerations of general and specific deterrence were raised by the Court.


With conviction a fine of $2,700.00 was imposed by the Court and an order made that $300.00 restitution be paid to the dog’s owner.

Contact Simon Pogue on 5823 7600 & seek legal advice before going to Court.

(1) League Against Cruel Sports v Scott [1985] 2 All E.R. 489
(2) Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Vic), s.30
(3) Cf Goss v Nicholas [1960] Tas. S.R. 133

The information in this casenote is of a general nature only. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for seeking legal advice from a qualified legal practitioner in your jurisdiction.

The Lurongyu [Criminal Court in Weihai (China), U.S.A. Today, 4 September 2013]

The prosecution of a number of sailors and fisherman for murder on the high seas was reported in U.S.A. Today on 4 September 2013.


On 27 December 2010 the Chinese fishing vessel Lurongyu set out from the port of Shidao on a two-year squid-fishing mission in the South Pacific on behalf of the Xinfa Aquatic Foodstuff Co. At departure she carried a crew of 33.

In or about March 2010 discontent developed among some of the crew who insisted with menaces that the ship return to China. The master agreed. Over the subsequent months a series of feuds and punishment killings by the mutineers resulted in 22 crewmembers being stabbed, drowned or (more or less involuntarily) drowning themselves. In the vicinity of Japan the ship had mechanical problems and encountered a Japanese patrol boat. It was eventually towed back to Shidao, arriving on 12 August 2011 (the report does not clarify why the return journey took something more than 12 months). The 11 survivors were arrested on arrival.


At trial an attempt was made by defence counsel to attach fault to Xinfa Aquatic Foodstuffs, on the basis that the company’s poor management had generated the crew’s discontent.


The mutineers were convicted of some 16 murders. Five were sentenced to death and the remaining six sentenced to imprisonment for terms ranging between four years and life.


Xinfa has paid compensation to the families of a number of the victims.


It would be interesting to know whether China’s (presumably at least nominally communist) jurisprudence would recognize liability in an employer for creating a situation in which a mutiny was seen as warranted. This could create an interesting tension with the idea of a pirate – some of these acts amounting to piracy (1) – as the enemy of all nations and societies (2).

(1) See Crimes Act 1958 (Vic.), §70B.
(2) “[F]or centuries, pirates have been universally condemned as hostis humani generis — enemies of all mankind — because they attack vessels on the high seas, and thus outside of any nation’s territorial jurisdiction, . . . with devastating effect to global commerce and navigation”: United States v Hasan, 747 F. Supp. 2d 599 at 602 (E.D. Va. 2010).

Damnatio Memoriae

The hills would not tell if King Aha had passed this way
Or Gilgamesh, or Agamemnon
Treading the gravel and sand and dust
Where the wind passed, sweeping
Obliterating marks
No bones to be seen

Nor the fertile swathes, clothed in wheat
Which earth had given, never the work of human hands
Could tell a tale of their sowing
Nor did they await
The caress
Of the reaperman.

Australian Federal Election – five days out

Today is Tuesday, 3 September 2013, and so we’re 5 days from polling day.  Here I go with my present two-cents worth (and, literally, my opinion is worth about two cents – I have no illusions about my own (in)significance).

For me, the election is actually starting to take on a kind of tragic hue.  Yesterday’s Financial Review, for example, followed on from the official launch of the Labor campaign at the weekend.  Nearly all the pundits were administering the last rites to the government. Much the same thing was covered in today’s Australian. Notwithstanding the energy that the Fin. Rev. described of the Labor staffers travelling with the Prime Minister, it’s safe to say that the only operatives of that Party whose hearts are still in the fight are those too young to remember a defeat.  I have neither warmth nor enmity for the Labor Party, but the sense of doom gives the efforts of both individual Labor candidates as well as Kevin Rudd himself an air of tragic energy that might have appealed to Euripides or Sophocles.

The other – perhaps tragic – sensation for me is that I can’t sense any enthusiasm in the electorate for the world beyond Saturday. I remember the energy in the electorate (on differing sides) after the elections of John Howard in 1996 and Kevin Rudd in 2007. I can’t feel anything like that in the public debate at present. Partly this is the fault of the Opposition itself: The Liberal and National Parties’ campaigns in general, and that of Tony Abbott in particular, have been rigorously disciplined and controlled and determined not to frighten the voters. Any sense of destiny has been replaced with a sense of mind-numbing blandness.

The minor parties have more signs of life: Although the Greens have outlined their usual positions, the Wikileaks Party flamed out in spectacular fashion, the Palmer United Party has pressed on with a moderately successful if (in my opinion) somewhat mystifying campaign, and the Katter Party has shown plenty of passion even if its own leader seems to be facing electoral problems of his own.

None of which alters the fundamental reality that minor parties are notoriously fractious and shortlived. If (as I suspect) Wikileaks is down for the count, and the Palmer and Katter groups fragment and drift into obscurity post-election, it leaves Australian politics dominated by two fairly passionless, managerial parties, with the Greens in their accustomed role as dealmakers.

In the result, then, we may be looking at a largely ideology-free, Fukuyama-esque, post-historical political future.