Saturday, 26 January 2013

Billy Goat's taste for Flowers

A magistrate in Australia, this week, has dismissed charges against a man fined after his goat named Gary ate flowers outside the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.  A video online showed Gary, a white anglo-Nubian Billy Goat sporting a colourful trilby and chewing on a geranium leaf.  His owner, Comedian Jimbo Bazoobi (real name:  James Dezarnaulds), as left they both left the Sydney court room had donned a black tee-shirt with 'Goats Need Love too' on it.

The police prosecuting the case argued that Mr. Dezarnaulds had acted recklessly in letting a hungry goat graze around the city's flower beds.  The issue seems to revolve around the problem of the Billy Goat's lack of discrimination in that in his ruminations he didn't distiguish between grass and the flowers.

The magistrate, Carolyn Barkell, found that there was no evidence that the owner had set Gary to eat off the flower bed, and was totally unaware of Gary's taste for flowers.  She there ordered that the fine of A$440 (£293) that Mr. Dezarnaulds had been ordered to pay by a lower Court should not have been issued.

This case, of course, takes us back to our own famous Manchester case in the 1990s, when a herd of goats from Rochdale were rounded up by British Rail Transport police on Victoria Station in Manchester, while attempting to travel by train to join demonstration of the unemployed workers in Bolton. The goats involved included Doris, a mature Nanny Goat and veteran of several demos who died in 2003, her surviving daughter Edna, and a young Billy Goat who.  As the owner of the trio I was handcuffed and the Irishman, Sean Dempsey, who was with me soon took to his heals and scaddled.

In that particular case, as well, the magistrate in the lower Court found against me as the owner: Breach of the Peace and obstructing a police officer, I think.  This was reversed later in the Manchester Crown Court, when the Judge found that though the police had the right to remove the goats from the Bolton bound train because they were not travelling with valid tickets; the British Rail Transport police had no right to remove their owner who had a valid ticket.  Naturally, the Judge declared the goats would leave the train when their owner was removed simply because they were tethered with a chain to their owner.  Thus the police had breached the contractual right to travel of the owner; no doubt in fairness to the police at the time in the 1990s, they didn't fancy being on their own in charge of a herd of goats on Victoria Station without their owner being on hand to help.

1 comment:

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