Two men escaped criminal conviction for their part in the theft of eight head of cattle from the Mid-Western Regional Council Saleyards, when they appeared in Mudgee Local Court last Friday (January 25, 2019).
The 18-year-old and 19-year-old defendants were each sentenced to two-year conditional release order without criminal convictions being recorded, for the charge of ‘Accessory after the fact to an offence – steal cattle’.
On Wednesday, August 30, 2017, a cattle sale was held at the Mid-Western Regional Council Saleyards, with a store cattle sale taking place the following day at the same location.
The first victim had five head of cattle passed in at the first sale, which were then planned to be entered into the second sale on the Thursday.
They were kept in a pen next to one of the facility’s loading ramps overnight.
Later that afternoon the second victim brought their animals to the saleyards ahead of the store cattle sale and also kept them in a pen near the same loading ramp.
On the morning of Thursday, August 31, 2017, the agents selling the cattle noticed that eight animals were missing, five belonging to the first victim and three belonging to the second victim respectively.
The police were called and the facility’s CCTV footage was reviewed.
It depicted a small truck reversing up to loading ramp at 7.47pm the prior evening and two men loading the cattle.
In just over five minutes they had left the scene.
Police posted the footage to the the Mudgee Local Area Command [now Orana Mid-Western Police District] Facebook page in order to identify the truck.
Following the public response and further investigation, detectives attended the Gungal property of the defendants on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
It was there that they located the eight head of cattle, seven of which had their National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) devices removed.
Three men were arrested and questioned over the incident and although admitting to the theft they gave conflicting accounts, each claiming they were acting under the direction of another.
The third defendant, a 46-year-old man, failed to appear in Mudgee Local Court last Thursday (January 24, 2019) charged with his part in the offence. He was a patient in hospital and his matters will be listed to return at a later date.