30 Oct 2013

Home detention sentence for seal killing

8:40 pm on 30 October 2013

A man has been sentenced to eight months' home detention after being found guilty of wilfully ill-treating a group of seals which he clubbed to death on the Kaikoura coast.

Jemaal Large admitted killing 23 fur seals at Ohau Point on the Kaikoura Coast in April 2010, but denied causing them pain or distress.

He was earlier found guilty of two charges under the Animal Welfare Act which requires the prosecution to prove wilful ill-treatment.

At Blenheim District Court on Wednesday, Judge Peter Hobbs said Large had committed a crime against the community and called his actions abhorrent.

"It involved premeditation and the use of a crude weapon that contributed to the pain and suffering some of these seals undoubtedly endured."

The judge sentenced him to eight months' home detention and 200 hours of community service.

Large's associate Jason Godsiff has already admitted culpability and been sentenced to eight months' home detention for his part in the killings.

Department of Conservation spokesperson Dave Hayes said the sentence sends a clear message that it is illegal to harm or kill protected native wildlife.

Marlborough resident Jennie Crumb has been following the case and was in court to support DoC at the sentencing. She believes the 200 hours of community work Large has been ordered to carry out could be beneficial.

"If he can work, hopefully, with fisheries or with DoC on the oceanside, learn about seals, learn about whales, about fish, about the whole ecosystem that we live with here. Kaikoura makes a living from their fisheries, so hopefully he'll come out of it a better person."