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Jonson conviction 'harsh'

22 April 2005

Jonson conviction 'harsh'

Farmers at a meeting of the Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara Districts province of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) have agreed unanimously that a judgement against Bruce and Jan Jonson was harsh.

There was full support from the province for an investigation to see if an appeal against the conviction could succeed in overturning the decision of the court.

Last Friday, the Kaikohe District Court fined the Northland couple nearly $6,000 for animal cruelty after they were found guilty of not ensuring the physical and health needs of their 39 cattle.

Four other alternative charges, also laid under the Animal Welfare Act by the Bay of Islands SPCA including three of ill-treatment, were dismissed by Judge Russell Johnson. The incident occurred on the couples Okaihau farm during severe flooding in March 2003.

At the meeting in Kaeo yesterday, several farmers with many years of experience farming properties that suffered from flooding had total sympathy with the Jonson’s situation.

“The ability of SPCA inspectors to use public donations to prosecute individuals at great expense in situations where they have little knowledge or experience can not be left to go unchallenged”, says Denis Anderson, President of the Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara Districts province of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

ENDS

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