Gladstone man throws girlfriends dog in fire: thrown in jail

HE stabbed and threw his girlfriend's small white Maltese terrier into a fire.

But Gert Coetzee then protested his jail sentence for his cowardly and cruel crime, saying the punishment was too harsh.

Coetzee, 34, from Calliope, was sentenced to serve at least four months jail but was freed on bail in April pending the outcome of his severity appeal to be heard before the District Court in Gladstone.

He had served around two months.

DAY OF RECKONING: Gert Johannes Coetzee must return to jail for his acts of animal cruelty against a small dog in Calliope on Boxing Day 2015.
DAY OF RECKONING: Gert Johannes Coetzee must return to jail for his acts of animal cruelty against a small dog in Calliope on Boxing Day 2015. SUPPLIED

It would have been a satisfying moment for the little Maltese dog when Judge Michael Burnett, who heard the appeal this week, ordered Coetzee back to jail to serve the rest of his four-month sentence. The appeal was dismissed.

"It was a deplorable act of cowardice and cruelty," Judge Burnett said, making clear his disgust at the act of animal cruelty.

"To be blunt I thought (the sentencing magistrate) was light on sentencing on the animal cruelty charge. Four months for what he did. I thought the punishment quite moderate. Being under the influence of alcohol still makes no excuse."

The animal cruelty charge had previously been heard in Gladstone Magistrates Court together with charges that Coetzee contravened domestic violence orders and breached bail. He also had a suspended jail term hanging over his head on prior matters.

Coetzee received an overall head sentence of eight months with release to parole after serving four.

In his appeal submission, barrister Tom Polley said his client Coetzee argued the sentence was "excessive and unjust" in that he was required to serve 50% of the head sentence.

Mr Polley said 2½ to three months should apply, but not four months as imposed by the magistrate.

Legal counsel for the police said the magistrate's sentence was lenient given Coetzee's recidivism and failure to take advantage of other court sentences to do rehabilitation.

Instead he continued to offend.

Judge Burnett resentenced Coetzee on all matters with a head jail sentence of 10 months, six months for the animal cruelty, saying the outcome was the same and he must serve four.

Police facts put before the Magistrates Court previously by prosecutor Gavin Reece, say Coetzee was in a drunken frenzy when he threatened to kill the small dog on Boxing Day.

Mr Reece said Coetzee grabbed it, stabbed it in the shoulder and threw it into a lit brazier.

The dog escaped and ran away but was found the following day and taken to a vet for treatment for a knife wound. The vet's report stated that the dog had a 6cm long cut on its shoulder and the wound went through to the chest cavity, leaving the dog's lungs exposed in the hole.

The dog's hair was singed from the fire, its paws blistered and burned.


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