Sentencing of the man who has admitted a property damage charge in connection with the fatal knifing of six miniature horses in South Australia has been delayed until October.
Michael Martin John O’Connell, 50, was to have been sentenced yesterday in the South Australian District Court, but it was delayed at his lawyer’s request while an independent valuation of the horses was obtained, and to allow extra time for a psychological assessment of the defendant.
O’Connell, of Middleton, was charged over the slaying of six miniature horses at the Clayton Bay stud of Jacksons Miniature Horses shortly before Christmas 2013.
The horses were found by workers in their stalls, having suffered fatal knife wounds.
Authorities opted to pursue a charge of property damage in the case rather than animal ill-treatment because heavier penalties applied under state law for property offences.
The maximum penalty for property damage is 10 years in jail, while ill-treating an animal carries a maximum fine of $A50,000 fine or four years in jail.
The case will be called again on October 21. O’Connell remains on bail.
Julie Jackson and her husband, Melvin, expressed disappointment at the delay on the stud’s Facebook page.
“Julie and I continue to have to relive the horror of what O’Connell did to our horses just before Christmas 2013 and having to prepare submission after submission is very difficult to handle.
“We thank those friends that attended the Court hearing today and those that continue to contact us with messages of support.”