Man cooked doves on park BBQ in 'gruesome' cruelty case

A LAIDLEY man who tortured live birds before barbecuing parts of them in a public park has been sentenced to 100 hours of community service and put on a three year probation.

Trent James Bradley Griffiths, 20, was one of three people who broke into Laidley Town and Country and stole five birds in three separate incidents during June and July last year.

Only one of the birds was returned to the store.

The others were killed after being maimed by Griffiths, and his accomplices, who tore the legs and head off the birds, while they were still alive.

Griffiths pleaded guilty to the crimes in Ipswich District Court on Monday.

Among the charges were five counts of serious animal cruelty.

Other than ripping body parts from the birds, the court heard Griffiths drowned the stolen duck in a puddle outside Laidley Town and Country before throwing the dead animal into a nearby lagoon.

It was the third time Griffiths, who has a mental disability, a history of cannabis use and was drunk at the time, broke into the store and stole birds.

In June he and the two others took doves and pigeons after lighting a fire on matting in a nearby park.

Those birds were released the following day and one was returned to the store.

But about a week later the trio went back to the store, took a bantam chicken and guinea fowl, then went back to the park where they plucked the guinea fowl's feathers before pulling off its legs, and then its head.

The fowl was alive until its head was pulled off.

During their next visit a duck, a silkie chicken and two doves were taken.

The legs and heads were again pulled off the birds before their bodies were ripped apart and parts of them were put on the barbecue.

When questioned, Griffiths told police he ate some of the barbecued parts.

Crown Prosecutor Nicole Schmitt said the acts of animal cruelty were "deliberate and determined".

She told the court Griffiths had been diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability and had an IQ of 73, making him less able to consider the consequences of his behaviour.

But, while Griffiths had come to have an understanding of his wrongful conduct overtime, she said, that wasn't the same as remorse.

"The defendant has demonstrated a lack of remorse," Ms Schmitt said.

"He went there on numerous occasions.

"This was not a one off incident…"

Defence lawyer Stephen Kissick presented two reports, one from the Department of Disabilities and the other from a psychologist, which he said showed Griffith would never be able to express the type of remorse the crown expected to see.

"He has sufficient understanding of the wrongfulness, that he's not going to race out and do it again," Mr Kissick said.

"He certainly spoke to the police about barbecuing these animals and having eaten some of it. Very very unusual and unfortunate set of circumstances."

Mr Kissick told the court Griffiths had undertaken a six month course to help with decision making, wanted to work as a carpenter and had given up smoking cannabis.

Judge Horneman-Wren labelled the case a "gruesome series of offences" featuring "cruelty to the extreme".

He said the cruelty had been compounded by the fact the trio had used a public place to cook parts of the birds and left body parts lying around the park.

"Intoxication is not an excuse," Judge Horneman-Wren said.

"It is quite clear from (the two psychological reports handed to the court) that you have an intellectual disability.

"No attempt was made to hide the fact they were barbecued in a public place, their remains left lying around."

Judge Horneman-Wren also took into account admissions Griffiths made to the police when questioned when sentencing him to 100 hours community service to be carried out over 18 months, and a three-year probation.

Griffiths was also ordered to pay more than $1000 in restitution covering damage to the park's matting from the fire worth $781.25, the cost of cleaning up the blood and body parts from around the barbecue worth $270 and $35 towards the cost of the birds.

Griffiths was allowed to keep his pet dog.

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