Julie Edmondson avoids jail time over live baiting charges

GREYHOUND owner and breeder Julie Edmondson has avoided a jail sentence after being charged with a range of offences stemming from last year’s live baiting scandal which rocked the greyhound racing industry to its core.

Edmondson, from Thagoona, a suburb of Ipswich, pleaded guilty to one count of serious animal cruelty and three counts of animal cruelty when she fronted the Ipswich District Court, with the offences said to have taken place between August 2014 and February 2015.

Edmondson also pleaded guilty to making a false declaration, with the 65 year old having previously provided signed documents stating she had not participated in live baiting.

During Edmondson’s appearance, the court was told she had used pigs, chickens and rabbits when trialling her greyhounds at her Marburg training facility.

It was also established that Edmondson had visited the property of now disqualified trainer Tom Noble where another live animal was used to blood her greyhounds during a trial session.

The court heard that during one trial session the live baiting practise continued with a pig until the lure arm was broken at the private trial track.

Edmondson was fined $5,000 for her part in the activity by Judge Sarah Bradley, which the conviction also recorded.

Edmondson had also been warned off greyhound tracks for life by the Queensland Racing Disciplinary Board, however that was later reduced to five years following an appeal.

It is the latest chapter of the live baiting scandal which was thrown into the spotlight in February 2015 after secret surveillance footage showed a host of participants blooding their greyhounds using live animals across three states – Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria – which was then broadcast on the ABC’s Four Corners program titled Making A Killing.

After the program went to air, a joint QPS and RSPCA Task Force was established in the Sunshine State to investigate the footage, which led to more than 20 Queensland greyhound racing identities being charged with a range of serious animal cruelty offences.

The Queensland Government also established a wide ranging review of the industry following the revelations, led by Alan MacSporran, with the final report outlining 15 recommendations to clean up the industry when it was handed down last July.

The news comes after disgraced trainer Noble was granted conditional bail last Wednesday after he was arrested the week prior for allegedly damaging police surveillance cameras which had been set up on his neighbour’s property.

Footage obtained on the cameras allegedly depicted Noble driving a lure at his training track six times between May 2015 and March 2016, months after he was warned off for life by Racing Queensland for his part in the live baiting scandal.

Noble has pleaded guilty to 15 animal cruelty charges, while is also facing charges of contravening an prohibition order, wilful damage, trespass and stealing, with Police having dropped two breach of bail charges.

Noble’s barrister Angus Edwards has said it is “highly unlikely” that he will receive a jail term for the charges to which he has pleaded guilty.

Noble’s cast will be mentioned in the Ipswich Magistrates Court again on April 13, 2016.