Michael John Chapman at Ipswich Courthouse.
Michael John Chapman at Ipswich Courthouse. Inga Williams

Greyhound trainer brought possums to use as live bait

A FORMER leading greyhound trainer has escaped serving actual time behind bars for his role in sickening live baiting practices.

Michael John Chapman, 54, pleaded guilty on Friday in Ipswich District Court to two counts of serious animal cruelty - an offence which carries up to seven years in jail.

The court was shown horrific footage of up to eight greyhounds savaging a possum and its baby at a Churchable training facility.

The possum could be heard in the footage making distressing sounds as it was being tied to the lure.

The footage showed the possum was still alive, despite its horrific injuries, more than 10 minutes later while those present joked about football.

A person could be heard in the recording saying Chapman should pay double after they realised the possum had a baby.

Crown prosecutor Clare Kelly told the court Chapman knew disgraced trainer Tom Noble and it was at his facility where the offences took place.

She said the offences took place on August 20 and September 1, 2014.

"Chapman took a possum and its baby to Noble's property along with six dogs where the live baiting occurred," she said.

"On the second occasion Chapman took his dogs to track and a live rabbit was used which was supplied by Noble.

"On both occasions Chapman paid Noble for the use of the track."

Defence barrister Stephen Kissick said Chapman had co-operated with authorities and had always been upfront about his involvement.

He said Chapman also had given evidence at the Queensland Greyhound Racing Industry Commission of Inquiry.

"He has had his licence revoked and has ultimately lost his livelihood," he said.

"More significantly though he has been warned off racetracks which also means he cannot talk or associate with people he has known for the past 15 years.

"He has had to sell everything to support himself and then found himself unemployed for a long period of time.

"He has suffered both economically and socially because of his conduct."

Judge Sarah Bradley, in one her last sentences before retiring next week, sentenced Chapman to three months behind bars wholly suspended for a year.

She was scathing in her assessment of Chapman's sickening conduct.

"Profit is what is behind this cruel practice," she said.

"Live baiting causes severe pain and suffering for these animals.

"The law is there to protect these defenceless creatures from people like you."