Emu killer walks free but told to pay $7000 for crimes
A MAN convicted of killing an emu at a Bundaberg zoo had acquired a taste for the bird while working at a friend's emu farm in the Australian Capital Territory.
Patrick James Andrews, 22, walked free from Hervey Bay Magistrates Court yesterday after spending 35 days in custody for the offence.
He will have to pay nearly $7000 in fines and restitution and was banned from driving for three years after pleading guilty to animal cruelty, unlawful killing of an animal, possessing dangerous drugs and drug utensils, driving unlicensed, driving under the influence of liquor, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and driving without due care and attention.
The court heard on Monday that Andrews had scaled the fence of Alexandra Park Zoo late on December 23, slashed Mary the emu's throat, cut off the animal's legs and put them in his backpack.
He had earlier joked with backpackers that he was planning on going to the zoo to get some Christmas dinner.
Early on Christmas Eve, Andrews took a car from Bundaberg Midtown Marina and drove south before crashing on the highway at Howard.
He was drunk at the time and hit an oncoming car before crashing into a tree.
By the time zookeeper Jim Gott found Mary the emu dead on Christmas Eve, Andrews had been charged with traffic offences.
The emu's legs were discovered in Andrews' backpack and he was later charged with killing the bird.
Prosecutor Sergeant Craig Ryan said the killing of the much-loved emu sparked community outrage.
“These are particularly heinous offences as far as the community is concerned,” he said.
Sgt Ryan said the replacement value of the emu was $2808.
Defence solicitor Ian Pilgrim said Andrews was broke, hungry and drunk at the time of the offence.
“He's a young man who made very foolish mistakes and what he did was wrong,” he said.
“He spent one month over Christmas in custody for that - and no drumsticks.
“The more serious matter here is the driving offences. A human being could have been killed.”
Magistrate Graeme Tatnell did not sentence Andrews to any more time in custody.
Andrews was fined $1000 and ordered to pay $2808 restitution for the emu, fined $2500 and banned from driving for three years for the traffic offences, and fined $500 for the drug offences.
These are particularly heinous offences