Farmer to deny animal-cruelty charges

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A farmer charged with 23 counts relating to alleged animal cruelty at his farm in Cork two years ago yesterday indicated he would be denying the charges.

Michael Holland, aged 52, of Courtbrack, Blarney, appeared before Judge Olann Kelleher at Cork District Court where it had been put back to see if the accused was pleading guilty or not guilty.

Donal Daly, defending, said there would be a plea of not guilty to the charges.

It will now have to be put back for a trial at Cork District Court.

Mr Daly indicated that the case would take approximately 90 minutes to hear.

Inspector Daniel Coholan suggested a hearing date in late September but Mr Daly said the accused would be on holidays at that time. A date of October 30 was set instead.

The defence solicitor said one of the issues being raised by the defence was the delay in the case being brought by the prosecution.

The case relates to alleged abuse of cattle. Fourteen of the counts are for alleged breaches of regulation 5 of the European Communities (Welfare of Farmed Animals) regulations.

Each of these charges states that on April 11, 2016, the defendant failed to take all necessary steps to ensure the welfare of an animal in his possession, in his control, and to ensure the animal was not caused unnecessary pain, suffering, or injury contrary to Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.

Nine counts are of allegedly failing to provide adequate water to an animal. One count is of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Mr Holland was not required to speak during the brief hearing as was the case when he was first before the court earlier this year on the matters. Once again, no background details were given on the allegations that gave rise to the charges being brought.

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