Alpaca basher's sentence increased - but no time in jail
A YOUNG man who viciously beat two alpacas at a Caboolture school has had his sentence increased but he still will not have to serve any time in custody.
Wayne Charles Hartwig, 19, was jailed for six months for the brutal bashing, which left one alpaca dead and the other so injured it had to be euthanised, but was released on immediate parole.
The Attorney-General argued last week in the Queensland Court of Appeal that Hartwig deserved to serve actual time behind bars for his "terrible conduct".
The appeal court instead opted to suspend the sentence for 18 months instead of allowing his release on immediate parole.
But Justice John Muir, in a judgment handed down on Friday, said the consequence of the change, unlike the original sentence, would mean if Hartwig reoffended any time in the next 18 months, he must serve the six-month term.
"Whether he serves any or all of such terms is a matter which is essentially in his hands," he said.
Hartwig must also complete 18 months of probation and submit to any psychiatric or psychological treatment a corrective services office might direct.
Hartwig and his juvenile co-offender used rocks, a hose and a metal pole to repeatedly beat the animals for about 30 minutes in the Caboolture High School grounds late at night while drunk.
When one of the animals tried to get to its feet, they beat it back to the ground.
They left at least one the animals alive and suffering before they fled.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said although his appeal was successful, he questioned whether suspended sentences had relevance when an offender was allowed to walk free without receiving actual jail time.
"I was appalled by the despicable act of animal cruelty that resulted in the deaths of the two alpacas and the sentence that was given to this perpetrator," he said.
"The Court of Appeal ruled that Hartwig should receive a six-month suspended sentence and to undertake mandatory psychiatric treatment.
"Should Hartwig commit another offence, he will be brought back before the court to be resentenced.
"Given the community's expectation of the justice system, this government is reviewing the sentencing options available to judges.
"This government considers animal cruelty as a serious crime and we will legislate to ensure those who commit offences such as these will go to jail, full stop.
"Crimes as heinous as these will not be tolerated in Queensland."