Polo pony death charges set for High Court

Spirit of Tasmania ferry operator TT-Line is taking its fight against criminal charges over the deaths of 16 polo ponies to Australia’s highest court.

The company has pleaded not guilty to 29 animal welfare charges, including accusations it didn’t provide adequate air flow for the horses on their trip from northern Tasmania to Victoria in January 2018.

TT-Line launched a bid in the Supreme Court of Tasmania to have the charges reviewed but that was dismissed.

On Tuesday, lawyers representing TT-Line told Devonport Magistrates Court they were seeking leave to appeal that decision in the High Court.

The company is scheduled to face a hearing over the charges in the middle of the year, although it may be pushed back depending on how the High Court challenge progresses.

TT-Line last November pleaded not guilty to one count of using a management method likely to result in unreasonable and unjustifiable pain and suffering.

It is also facing 28 counts of failing to ensure the horses were individually stalled.

The ponies had competed in the Barnbougle Polo event in Tasmania’s north and were found dead when their float was opened in Victoria after the Bass Strait crossing.

A directions hearing for the matter is expected to be held in Devonport Magistrates Court on May 13.

Australian Associated Press

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