The Penalties for Animal Cruelty in NSW


A 26-year-old father from WA, Luke Dempster was charged and convicted after pleading guilty to a number of animal cruelty offences, common assault charges, possession of prohibited drugs, drug paraphernalia and discharging a firearm to cause fear.

Earlier in the year, he tortured a chicken and two kangaroos.

It is reported that on one occasion Dempster had stabbed a kangaroo around twenty-two times. On another occasion he bashed a kangaroo with eleven punches to its head before video recording another man who held the injured animal by the neck and shot into its eye with a rifle. The defenceless animal struggled to breath after the rifle shot had caused its eyeball to extend above from its head.

On another occasion he was heard saying in a video recording, “what a cooked c…” before a chicken which was on fire had collapsed after being injured from a small explosive device.

As for the common assault offences, Dempster was convicted for driving a car with another male who with a ‘gel-blaster gun’ shot towards people, hitting one person, who was with his 8-year-old son, in the stomach and chest.

Dempster’s explanation for such cruelty was to please a gang in order to be accepted by them. Interestingly, the same gang that he sought out to impress had assaulted and expelled him after the charges were made against him.

Magistrate Gregory Benn who sentenced Dempster after viewing the images sentenced him to two-years imprisonment. He will be eligible for release on parole after spending 1 years in jail.

Magistrate Benn from the Joondalup Magistrates Court said, “it’s not just the torture, the suffering inflicted on these defenceless animals, the killing of these animals in extreme circumstances in which they were clearly in an extreme state of pain, distress, fear… You didn’t show one ounce of compassion, no care, no concern for what you were inflicting, what your mates were inflicting on these animals”.

“No reasonable, no right-minded law-abiding member of the community with even a basis sense of decency, I have no doubt, could not look at these videos without being struck by the clear horror”. His Honour said.

The court pointed out how he had laughed, filmed and kept the videos afterwards. The court was heard acknowledging that while he pleaded guilty to the offences early in the proceedings, he didn’t help the police in finding the other people involved, clearly depicted in the footages.

Katrina Love, the nation vice president of the Animal Justice Party said, “the community in general is shocked by the degree of aggravated inflicting of pain and suffering for pleasure and for entertainment, basically.. I think it’s good to see a jail term imposed, when you take into consideration the extended pain and suffering and terror that the animals must have gone through.”

The Sentences That Were Handed Down

In respect to possessing the knuckledusters which were used in bashing the kangaroos, he was sentenced to a 1-month term of imprisonment.

In respect to the firing of a gel blaster gun at three people while he was driving a vehicle, he was sentenced to four-months jail for each of the two sentences for his role in this.

In respect to the assaults caused on a man who was in the company of his 8-year-old son, he was sentenced to 2-months jail.

In respect to his involvement in encouraging the stabbing of a kangaroo up to twenty-two times by another man, he was sentenced to 5-months imprisonment.

He was sentenced to 6-months imprisonment for setting a chicken on fire attaching an explosive device under it.

He received a sentence of eleven-months imprisonment for punching a kangaroo about eleven times with knuckledusters.

The Law and Penalties for Animal Cruelty in NSW

Anyone who commits serious animal cruelty in NSW will face up to 5-years imprisonment under section 530 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

A person will be guilty of this if:

  • The accused person beats, tortures or uses an animal as a lure or kills for purposes of blooding greyhounds or in connection with the trialling, training or racing of any coursing dog; and
  • He/she did that with the intention of inflicting severe pain on the animal; and
  • As a result, the animal is killed or is seriously injured or where he/she prolonged the animals’ suffering.

A person will also face up to 3-years imprisonment if he/she:

  • Killed or seriously injured or caused prolonged suffering to the animal as a result of torturing, beating, or used the animal as a lure or kill for purposes of blooding greyhounds or in connection with the trialling, training or racing of any coursing dog; and
  • At the time of doing this, he/she realised the possibility of causing severe pain to the animal but did it anyway.

See our previous blog for an outline as to the defences to this charge.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.


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