Legal action over the deaths of 16 polo ponies who died on board the Spirit of Tasmania on an overnight voyage from Devonport to Melbourne in 2018, is set to drag on – more than five years after the incident.
Ferry operator TT-Line has appealed the October decision handed down by Burnie Magistrate Leanne Topfer, who found the company guilty of 29 animal welfare breaches.
Ms Topfer subsequently fined TT-Line $75,000 and recorded a conviction, but TT-Line had already appealed the decision before the penalty was handed down.
The appeal is currently being heard by the full bench of the Supreme Court of Tasmania.
TT-Line is claiming Ms Topfer erred in her decision because ventilation on the vehicle which carried the horses is the responsibility of the driver of the vehicle and not the ship’s crew.
The company says it had relied on a declaration by the driver Andrew Williams that there was adequate ventilation.
Williams was also found guilty in the Burnie Magistrate’s Court on animal welfare breaches and received a fine.
He currently has a civil case against TT-Line in the Victorian Supreme Court.