Court Clears Man Who Dumped Pair In Desert

Sydney Morning Herald

Thursday July 31, 1997

By DAVID REED

A sheep station owner was cleared yesterday of endangering two jackaroos he sacked then dumped in the West Australian outback more than 100 kilometres from the nearest town.

The public gallery in the District Court in Carnarvon applauded when Mervyn Joseph Tomkins, 53, of Nookawarra Station, 220 kilometres from Cue, was cleared of charges that he failed to provide the necessities of life to Bradley John Carr, 21, and Benjamin Goeree, 19.

The jackaroos claimed they were sacked after telling Mr Tomkins they would not hold the lambs between their legs while they cut off their tails, tagged them and castrated them.

Mr Tomkins said they were lazy and did not want to work any more. Other witnesses described situations where the jackaroos were deliberately cruel to animals.

Mr Carr and Mr Goeree walked 25 kilometres over two days in 30 to 35 degree heat before reaching Mileura Station.

They said they got off the utility when told to because there was a revolver in the front and they did not know what the Tomkins were capable of.

Mr Tomkins, who rejected the gun claim, said he dumped the pair because he was frightened by their bizarre behaviour and knew they carried knives. He said he pointed out a nearby well with good drinking water.

Mr Kulen Ratneser, prosecuting, said there was no justification for dumping the pair. "They might be the biggest louts in the world but they have a right to live."

Mr Ross Williamson, defending, said the charges were based on lies from dangerous louts motivated by revenge and money paid to them by a television station for their story.

"The only thing Merv Tomkins was guilty of was trying to protect himself and his wife," Mr Williamson said.

© 1997 Sydney Morning Herald

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