Guilty plea for pony charges

Former Australian polo captain Andrew Williams has pleaded guilty to putting polo ponies at risk of suffocation and asphyxiation when he loaded them on the Spirit of Tasmania in 2018.

Williams was driving 18 horses to NSW following a voyage to the mainland on the ferry, and 16 of the animals died on the journey.

On 7 July in Burnie Magistrates Court, Williams pleaded guilty to using a method of transport likely to result in unreasonable and unjustifiable pain and suffering and 16 counts of failing to ensure the horses were individually stalled.

Court documents showed Williams failed to use adequate ventilation vents, used transport that did not allow for adequate monitoring of the horses, and that he put them at risk by loading in two per stall and failing to check them for an hour after disembarking the ferry.

Williams is yet to be sentenced, and his case is not the only one pertaining to the incident.

Spirit of Tasmania ferry operator TT-Line has been charged with one count of using a method of management reasonably likely to result in unreasonable and unjustifiable pain and suffering and 28 counts of failing to ensure that a horse was individually stalled.

TT-Line has pleaded not guilty, and the case will be heard in August.

In 2018 Williams launched a civil case against TT-Line and freight operator QUBE Ports regarding responsibility for the deaths of the ponies, and the proceeding is scheduled for March 2023.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.