Date: 30 October 2013
The second of two men convicted over the beating to death of 23 fur seals on the Kaikoura coast has today been sentenced to eight months’ home detention and 200 hours’ community service.
Jemaal Large, 38, had pleaded not guilty but after a court hearing was last month convicted in Blenheim District Court on two charges of wilful ill-treatment of animals relating to 13 female and two bull seals. He was found not guilty on a third charge relating to the deaths of eight seal pups.
The seals were beaten to death with galvanised steel pipe at the Ohau Point seal colony in late 2010.
The other man involved in the attack, Jason Godsiff was convicted in 2011 after pleading guilty to a charge of wilful ill-treatment of animals. He was initially sentenced to two years’ imprisonment but this was reduced on appeal to eight months’ home detention.
Department of Conservation spokesperson Dave Hayes said he was pleased the two men had been held to account for their actions with significant legal consequences.
‘This was a callous attack that was particularly shocking for the large number of seals involved. It drew widespread public condemnation and we are grateful for the public support we received.
‘We thank the police and Crown Prosecutor for their work in ensuring those who committed the attack were prosecuted and convicted.
‘We take very seriously attacks on seals and other legally-protected marine mammals and look to prosecute anyone harming them.
‘Under recent changes to the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 anyone harming or killing seals could face up to two years’ imprisonment or a $250,000 fine or both.
‘Thankfully most people respect seals and value being able to see them on our coasts.
‘Kaikoura is internationally-renowned for its marine wildlife tourism with seal viewing one of its significant drawcards.
‘More than 40,000 visitors a year are attracted to seeing seal pups playing in the Ohau Stream waterfall near the Ohau Point seal colony. We greatly appreciate the help of Ohau Seal volunteers who educate visitors about seals and keep an eye on the seals in that area.’
David Hayes, Marlborough District Partnership Manager, +64 3 572 9100
Trish Grant, Communications Advisor,
+64 3 546 3146 or +64 27 556 1859