A former Kennel Club judge and his wife, who were banned from
caring for animals for 20 years, have had their application
for appeal dismissed.
David and Daryl Balfour were convicted in December 2011 on
three animal cruelty charges after the SPCA found 87 dogs and
161 cats in cramped conditions with insufficient shelter,
water, light and ventilation on a property near Dannevirke in
In a judgement released by the Supreme Court of New Zealand
today, their applications for leave to appeal have been
The Balfours filed their appeal on the grounds that the
original trial judge was wrong not to exclude all of the
illegally obtained evidence.
They also claimed the use of representative charges was
unjustified and the evidence of two expert witnesses should
not have been admitted - in one case because the witness was
said not to be impartial and in the other because the
expert's notes were not disclosed to the defence.
In the Supreme Court judgement, Chief Justice Dame Sian
Elias, Justice Terence Arnold and Justice Susan Glazebrook
said they were not satisfied it was necessary in the
interests of justice that they heard and determined the
The justices did not agree that the case raised a question of
general or public importance.
"All that this case involves is the application of
well-established principles to a particular fact situation."
They also did not accept there was a risk of a substantial
miscarriage of justice.
"The Court of Appeal addressed the matters raised by the
applicants in detail. We are not persuaded that any material
error in the Court's analysis has been identified.
"Finally, the failure of the applicants' business does not
make this a matter of general commercial importance.
"The applications for leave to appeal are accordingly
When the Balfours took their appeal to the Court of Appeal
earlier this year, their lawyer, Eric Forster argued that the
$28,000 fine imposed - to be paid to the SPCA - was "unduly
Mr Forster also expressed concern that TVNZ footage of the
raid on the Dannevirke property was excluded from evidence
without being viewed in full by Judge Alastair Garland.
Mr Forster also argued that some of the diseases some of the
cats suffered, such as ringworm, were not significant and
there was "no suffering in the dog population".
The couple kept the animals as part of a breeding operation.
Half of the animals were put down and about 50 cats were
treated by a veterinary surgeon. Some of the cats took three
years to recover fully.
Crown lawyer Stephanie Edwards said the fine was at the
"conservative" end of the available range.
She also defended the length of the animal ban.
The Crown had sought a lifetime ban, but the legislation was
not clear as to whether that was lawful, she said.
- Brendan Manning of APNZ