Australia: Gary The Goat Overturns Conviction

Jonathan Samuels, Australia correspondent

An Australian court has heard the bizarre case of a goat which destroyed a flowerbed - and has found in favour of the peckish animal.

Gary the goat was accused of eating flowers outside Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art and his owner James Dezarnaulds, was fined \$440 (£295) by police.

However, the comedian, also known as Jimbo Bazoobi, contested the fine.

As he delivered his version of events to the magistrate his sidekick waited nervously outside court surrounded by reporters and photographers.

Magistrate Carolyn Barkell said the accused had been eating the flowers when police arrived.

"I accept that he did eat garden plants," she said.

However, she said there was no evidence Mr Bazoobi took Gary there with the intention of vandalising vegetation.

"He may have preferred to have an ice cream," she said.

Gary's lawyer Paul McGirr told the court police had issued the wrong infringement notice because it related to a person and not a goat.

He also said it could not be proved that Mr Bazoobi put Gary up to the act.

"We can't guess what he might have been whispered in his goat ear," he said.

Mr Bazoobi tours Australia with Gary and told reporters he bought him for a case of beer last year.

Speaking after the verdict Mr Bazoobi said: "Gary's name has been cleared of all this slander. He was simply eating and I want to thank everyone for coming down here.

"Gary the goat taught the cops a valuable lesson today, don’t bite off more than you can chew."

Mr McGirr said: "Think about the waste of taxpayers' money that has been spent on prosecuting a person because a goat is eating some grass or some vegetation.

"I've always been an advocate that all police should be out doing real police work. I'd also like to know what other police who are working hard would think about their colleague actually writing a ticket to someone whose goat is feeding."

The magistrate dismissed Mr Bazoobi's application for the Crown to pay his legal costs but cancelled his fine.

Gary was not required to give evidence and made no comment on the verdict.

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