This is a file photo of one the 16 emaciated horses seized from an Armstrong farm by the B.C. SPCA in Dec. 2014. (Image: File photo/BC SPCA)

This is a file photo of one the 16 emaciated horses seized from an Armstrong farm by the B.C. SPCA in Dec. 2014. (Image: File photo/BC SPCA)

Armstrong man found guilty of cruelty to animals has appeal dismissed

Gary Roberts’ animal cruelty conviction remains after appeal hearing

  • Jan. 31, 2018 10:30 a.m.

An Armstrong man’s appeal of his conviction for wilfully causing suffering to animals has been dismissed.

Gary Roberts, born in 1945, was found guilty of animal cruelty in December 2016 and was given a nine-month conditional sentence to be served at home. Roberts was also given a 20-year prohibition from owning animals.

RELATED: Jail sentence for animal cruelty longest in B.C. history

After he breached conditions of his probation, Roberts was ordered to serve the remainder of his sentence in jail.

Roberts based his appeal on three grounds.

The first was that a search warrant executed in December 2014 by the BC SPCA, about one year after a special constable with the organization attended Roberts’ property and found horses with no access to food, and appeared to be underweight and neglected. Roberts was given an order containing eight directions.

In December 2014, the SPCA executed the warrant with a veterinarian and photographer present, and the vet determined the animals on the property were still in distress. The warrant was issued to relieve the animals’ distress.

Roberts argued that evidence gathered on his property should have been excluded at his trial because the warrant did not authorize gathering of evidence.

Appeal Justice Nathan H. Smith agreed the photos were a violation of Roberts’ charter rights but were not enough to bring the “administration of justice into disrepute.”

The second appeal ground was the trial judge relying on evidence of what took place in December 2013. Roberts said the issuance of the warrant should not have played a role in convicting him.

Smith found no error with the trial judge’s reliance on the evidence for that purpose.

The third ground for appeal relates to the credibility of Roberts, who was presented by the trial judge as “an angry man; using profanities under cross examination and one who gratuitously disparaged the BC SPCA and largely blamed them for his difficulties.”

Smith did not find anything in the trial judge’s credibility analysis that amounts to a “palpable and overriding error.”

With that, Smith dismissed the appeal.

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Armstrong man found guilty of cruelty to animals has appeal dismissed

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