David Gafa has pleaded not-guilty to a charge of serious animal cruelty.
David Gafa has pleaded not-guilty to a charge of serious animal cruelty. contributed

Jury returns not-guilty verdict in animal cruelty trial

A HORSE trainer has been found not guilty of serious animal cruelty following a three-day trial in Maroochydore District Court. 

The jury returned the verdict in the case of David Ronald Gafa early yesterday evening. 

Mr Gafa's charges stemmed from the way a two-and-a-half-month-old foal named Bonny was treated at a veterinarian's Valdora property on November 18, 2016.

Mr Gafa had enlisted the help of strapper (stable hand) Glen Corrie and former vet nurse Jordan Duffy to collect the foal and its mother to bring back to his nearby property in a horse trailer.

Bonny's body was found in a dam on Mr Gafa's property two days later and then recovered from the water the following day, the court previously heard.

Mr Gafa chose to give evidence today and told the court the foal kept running away from him, so they made the decision to put Bonny in a corral with its mother.

He said he then lassoed the foal, but it "reacted very badly" and began "thrashing" against the gate which he told Mr Corrie to open.

After the foal continued to resist, Mr Gafa said a sedative was administered by Ms Duffy. Within "one second" the foal reared up, causing it to hit its head on a post, according to Mr Gafa.

He returned the next day and said he was "horrified" upon realising the foal was injured but thought it only minor.

Mr Gafa transported the foal and its mother to his property that day and was later required to give the foal penicillin as its temperature was rising, but said it soon seemed back to normal.

It then escaped its enclosure and was later found dead. 

Veterinary pathologist Dr Helen Owen told the court a post-mortem examination found the foal had multiple fractures to its upper and lower jaws, which she said could have been caused from the animal's thrashing.