New Zealand Law
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My (ex) wife and I are both being separately charged for two counts of Cruelty/Ill Treatment of Animals (charge code 6391) one count of Fail to Prevent/Mitigate Suffering (charge code 6397) and two counts of Fail to Prevent/Mitigate Suffering (charge code 6398). These cause of these charges were unintentional... not making any excuses, but just painting the picture as to how it came about. These charges go to around August 2012. It was during that time my wife (now ex) had become very ill and bed ridden. The animals were her main responsibility as I was busy with our (separate business) but would often lend a helping hand. Also, shortly after, the tension of the increasing workload caused major personal/marital issues between us. Together with her sickness and our problems the animals were sadly starting to get neglected... which led to a few fatalities... hence the charges as per above. I'm intending to represent myself, not too sure what she is doing as we are being separately charged (for same offences though). I intend to plead guilty, which at the end of the day I am. But how can I minimise the penalties each charge carries ??? I believe being as open and honest is always best, XXXXX XXXXX also heard that this could result in a very costly penalty. We have our own business in which I work 7 days (transport industry) so going to jail would most definitely ruin our business. We also have two rental properties as well as the lifestyle block where the animals are/were. Worried Courts will seek maximum fine which will most definitely bankrupt us. Have 3 children, 11, 6 and 4. We have sold pretty much all of the stock we had... just a handful remaining which should be gone by the end of the month. Any help and guidance would be highly appreciated.
Hi and welcome. My first response will follow shortly. Please feel free to follow up if anything is not clear.
You can plead guilty and represent yourself. You should get a 25% discount for an early plea of guilty for a start.
You should get character references and a statement of income to show what you can pay by way of fines, and perhaps prepare a statement about the personal problems you were facing which you can hand over to the judge.
It is unlikely the fine will be close to the maximum of that you will get jail for a first offence. But for the saving as to fines and risk avoidance it may be worth finding a lawyer to help even if you plead guilty. That fee may have been for a defended case.
A plea of guilty would not cost anywhere near that.
Thank you for your reply. It is a relief knowing that it would be ok for me to represent myself. Thus far I have had people telling me it is a bad idea and that that fines/penalties will be far greater as I don't know the "tricks" the lawyers are capable of.
Having said that. Would you be able to give me a figure (even approximate) fee cost for a lawyer to take on this case (both for myself and my ex - same charges charged individually though).
Case is on 28 August (next week).