Author Topic: Owner of Jacksons Miniature Horses want Michael Martin John O’Connell prosecuted  (Read 5351 times)

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Owners of Jacksons Miniature Horses want Michael Martin John O’Connell prosecuted for animal cruelty over brutal killing of horses         
  • 14 hours ago June 10, 2014 11:55PM
      GRIM: Fifi, one of the miniature horses attacked. Picture: Supplied height=366   GRIM: Fifi, one of the miniature horses attacked. Picture: Supplied Source: News Limited

THE owners of six miniature horses brutally slain by a Victor Harbor man are making an impassioned plea to Premier Jay Weatherill to intervene to ensure animal cruelty charges against him are not dropped.

Legal sources have confirmed the move has been discussed following the man’s guilty plea to a charge of property damage — a fence and the six horses.

The man, Victor Harbor builder Michael Martin John O’Connell, 50, is still facing one count of aggravated serious criminal trespass and six counts of ill treating an animal to cause death or serious harm following last December’s incident.

In the shocking incident — which received worldwide coverage — six miniature show horses at Jacksons Miniature Horses were killed by having their throats slit.

The horses, two colts and four fillies, were found in a stable on the property, located between Finniss and Milang near Lake Alexandrina, owned by Julie Jackson and her husband Mel.

O’Connell, who had been contracted to undertake building work on the property, was arrested and charged by police a week after the attack following an overwhelming response from the public providing information.

He pleaded guilty to one count of property damage related to the incident in Adelaide Magistrates Court on May 20. He is due to plead to the remaining charges on June 17.

However, both legal and police sources have confirmed initial discussions have taken place in which consideration to dropping the remain charges was raised following that guilty plea.

A visibly upset Ms Jackson said she firmly believed each of the unresolved charges should proceed.

“I am disgusted this would even be considered,’’ she said.

“They did not die instantly. An expert opinion says they could have taken up to five minutes to die.

“I think if the charges are dropped or downgraded that would send the totally wrong message. There would be a public outcry.’’

Ms Jackson said she planned to personally appeal to both premier Jay Weatherill and Attorney-General John Rau and ask them to intervene to ensure no charges were withdrawn.

“I plan to write to both of them and plead with them not to let these charges be dropped or downgraded,’’ she said.

Ms Jackson said her family was still coming to terms with their loss because the slain horses were “part of our lives.’’ Her family had since sold the Clayton Bay property because of the incident.

“It is very, very difficult,” she said.

“We would never, ever use those stables again. We don’t even like going to the property.

“It is something we will never, ever get over.’’

Since December her family had received more than 7,000 messages of support from people around the world on their facebook site, Jacksons Miniature Horses.

“We have also had an enormous number of cards and letters from people offering messages of support,’’ she said.

“There have been a huge amount from South Australians, but also interstate, New Zealand, Malaysia and England.

“This has clearly resonated with animal lovers everywhere.’’

When asked to comment on the prospect of any remaining charges being dropped, a spokeswoman for Director of Public Prosecutions Adam Kimber, QC, said: “On behalf of the Director I advise that this Office has not made a decision to discontinue any of the charges to which Mr O’Connell has to date not entered a plea.’’

“Should such a decision be thought appropriate, the complainant will be given the opportunity to speak to a solicitor from this Office before any final decision is made,’’ the spokeswoman said.

Under the Criminal Law Consolidation Act the penalty for damaging a building or motor vehicle is 10 years jail and the maximum penalty for aggravated serious criminal trespass is five years jail.

The maximum penalty for anyone convicted of ill treating an animal to cause death or serious harm is a $50,000 fine or four years’ jail.