Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Man who nailed possum to tree to serve jail time

Man who nailed possum to tree to serve jail time

In a case that RNZSPCA CEO Ric Odom described as “genuinely disturbing”, a Whangarei possum trapper who videoed himself torturing several possums to death was today sentenced to prison.

Joshua Godfrey Aidan Heka, 28, was convicted today in the Whangarei District Court on 10 counts of wilfully ill-treating an animal with the result that the animal died, plus two counts of possessing objectionable material. He was sentenced to 2 years and 4 months in prison.

On 1 January 2014, the Police were called to Heka’s address in Whangarei on an unrelated matter. While at the address, Police were advised of some disturbing videos on Heka’s iPod by another member of the household. The videos were taken between June 2013 and November 2013, and showed Heka mutilating and taunting a series of possums before decapitating them or bludgeoning them to death.

In one series of videos, Heka films a possum whose tail he has nailed to a tree. As he approaches the possum it desperately tries to climb the tree to escape and begins to scream. The next video shows the same possum with its left arm pinned to the tree by the nail, which Heka hammers further into the tree while the possum screams. The next video shows the same possum with its left shoulder and left leg stapled to the tree by u-shaped nails. The possum continues to scream as Heka asks, “What's wrong possum? Is it a bit sore?” and hammers the staples further in. Heka then hits the possum’s head several times with the hammer.

In another video, Heka hacks the limbs off a female possum and then mocks her as she tries but fails to flee. He then chops the possum’s head off and dangles it in front of the camera lens while saying, “What up girl? Smile, smile, smile bitch! Smile!” In yet another video, Heka uses a hammer to break another possum’s legs then holds its face up to the camera and asks, “Does that f**king hurt? Does it? What? I can’t hear you.” The possum is clearly alive throughout. Heka then bashes the possum in the head with the hammer before stomping on its head aggressively several times.

“Heka’s crimes are genuinely disturbing and some of the worst offending we’ve seen,” says Ric Odom, CEO of the Royal New Zealand SPCA. “Unfortunately, we see similar acts of ‘recreational cruelty’ all too often in New Zealand and appeal to the public to bring such acts to the attention of the Police or the SPCA.

“We agree with the Police that people should receive prison sentences for this kind of offending because of the well-documented links between animal and human abuse. Basically, people who abuse animals are also very likely to abuse people, so a custodial sentence is fully justified. We hope that such offenders also receive the professional help that they clearly need.

“This case also raises issues around the treatment in New Zealand of so-called pest animals, such as possums. Although possums do significant damage to our forests and it is legal to hunt, trap, and kill them, it is still an offence to ill-treat them. If you kill them, you must do so humanely and avoid inflicting unnecessary suffering on them. All animals are sentient living things that feel pain and distress – they are not simply objects that we can do with as we please.

“Despite our opposition to the ill-treatment of animals, the RNZSPCA acknowledges that the humane control of the possum population is a necessary activity designed to preserve our native forests and animals.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case...

Obviously, sick people shouldn’t be being treated by doctors and nurses who are themselves sick and potentially infectious. Similarly, Police emergency calls also need to be fielded by people who’re feeling alert, and on top of their game. More>>

 
 

MPs' Computers To Be Searched: Inquiry Into Leak On Simon Bridges' Expenses

An inquiry has been launched to find out who leaked the National Party's expenses to the media... Parliament's speaker, Trevor Mallard, said a Queen's Counsel would lead the inquiry with the help of an employment lawyer and also someone with forensic IT skills. More>>

ALSO:

Teachers Strike: Nationwide Rallies And Marches

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: City Council Ends Its Support For Jackson’s Movie Museum

The Wellington City Council and the Movie Museum Limited have today announced a mutually-agreed parting of the ways for a joint project between the Council’s Convention Centre and TMML’s Movie Museum... Both parties remain optimistic for the future of their respective projects. More>>

Pay Equity: Historic Settlement For Education Support Workers

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) and the Ministry of Education today signed Terms of Settlement to address a pay equity claim for 329 support workers who work with very young children in early childhood and primary schools. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Stereotypes About Jacinda Ardern

Routinely, female politicians get depicted as either show ponies or battle axes, with little room for anything else in between. .. More>>

Weekend Interviews: "Discriminatory And Racist" Aussie Deportations

The former president of Australia’s Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs says deportations have risen dramatically in Australia since 2014 when ministers and ministerial delegates were given the power to cancel visas - and half of those being deported are New Zealanders. "These are massive numbers, actually escalating dramatically."... More>>

ALSO:

Legal Challenge: Prisoner Has 9 Boxes Of Documents Seized

Human rights organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa says a prisoner they advocate for has had 9 boxes of legal documents seized from him just days before his case against the Department of Corrections was to be heard. More>>

Single-Use Plastic Bags: Govt To Phase Them Out

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages