Court decision throws doubt over animal cruelty cases

GREYHOUND trainer Ian Hoggan is not an emotional man but he admitted he cried when he left Ipswich District Court on Friday.

Mr Hoggan's serious animal cruelty charge was dropped, but he faces a long journey before he can return to his Churchable home, and a normal life.

His defence barrister Sam Di Carlo applied to have illegally obtained video evidence dismissed - an application which was granted, resulting in Mr Hoggan being cleared of his only charge before the court. It was a charge he always maintained he was not guilty of, but one which landed him with a Racing Queensland suspension from training.

Until that suspension is lifted, Mr Hoggan is unable to go home to his fellow greyhound trainer wife Kerry.

"I'm overjoyed, it's hard to express," he said.

"It hasn't sunk in yet and won't till I get back home."

He said he had not been home since he was charged in April last year, and he and his wife faced extreme financial strain as a result.

"It has been a very harrowing time, I have been away from home and not living with my wife," he said.

"It has had a massive financial impact - not only the legal burden - that has set us back an astronomical figure."

Mr Hoggan, who held a training licence for 50 years, said he had full confidence in Mr Di Carlo going into Friday's application and he hoped Judge Greg Koppenol's decision provided some relief to the "tarnished" greyhound racing industry.

"I don't get emotional about anything but I must admit there were tears flowing and I'm not ashamed of it," he said.

"I said I'm not guilty and he said let's go to war.

"I think people should be made aware there is an element that is not good but 98% have their lives in the game and they don't do anything wrong but they have been tarred by the same brush.

"I think if people give us a chance and they realise reforms have been put in place, so they can't do anything wrong even if they wanted to.

"It's a passive industry and they just love the game, they're not in it for the money.

"Many will go without themselves to make sure their dogs are looked after and fed."

He said he and his wife were representing those trainers who trained greyhounds for the love of the sport.

"At different times we've made a nice living but other times we've battled to break even," he said.

"It's a poor man's sport and always has been regarded as, the poor old dog man is a struggler."

In an application to the court, Mr Di Carlo said video footage evidence was obtained by trespass on a Churchable property.

"The police only came to suspect (Mr Hoggan) of a crime when (a third party) incorrectly identified the applicant as the man in a blue t-shirt on the convert video footage that itself was obtained by trespass," the application read.

"The police had little to no evidence of any crime before this.

Mr Di Carlo said the decision was unlikely to effect other like charges before the court.

"It's not about animal cruelty, it's one the worst things there is, it's about assessing overall people have rights to be dealt with according to laws," he said.

"If we open up the door for anybody to be able to do that, we start to look at anarchy don't we.

"That's the argument I've got."

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