A New Zealand tourist has been fined $2000 after he admitting putting a quokka in the ocean off Rottnest Island because he wanted to show how well it could swim.
Bevan Denis Hames was charged with animal cruelty after he put the vulnerable marsupial into the ocean near the Rottnest Hotel around 10pm on Friday.
It was alleged Hames, who was in Perth for a wedding, threw the quokka into the water from the jetty.
But in court on Monday, Hames’ lawyer said the 37-year-old had a degree in zoology and placed the marsupial in the water to prove it was a good swimmer.
He rejected allegation he threw the quokka and said he placed the friendly critter onto the jetty and it jumped from his hands.
Hames apologised to the court through his lawyer, who said the tourist had received threatening emails since he was charged.
Luckily the quokka made it back to shore uninjured.
Given his occupation as a business development manager for a construction company, Hames’ lawyer argued a conviction would prevent his client from travelling internationally for work.
Hames was granted a spent conviction and fined $2000.
He planned to leave Australia on Monday night.
Newsbreak – March 21