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Cattle duffing accusations herded into court

Cattle duffing accusations have ended up in a Toowoomba court.
Cattle duffing accusations have ended up in a Toowoomba court. John Gass

ACCUSATIONS of cattle duffing between neighbouring farmers had led to threats to kill and the ramming of a victim's vehicle, Toowoomba Magistrates Court has heard.

David John Zerbst and the victim were owners of neighbouring properties in the Chinchilla area and Zerbst had for some time accused his neighbour in the disappearance of cattle and damage to fences on his property, the court heard.

About 9.30 Good Friday morning as the victim mended fencing on his property with his vehicle parked on the road nearby, he had seen Zerbst driving toward him, police prosecutor Julia Wheaton told the court.

After slamming on his brakes, the 50-year-old had reversed his vehicle into the victim's vehicle which was pushed through a fence.

He had then alighted from the car armed with a hunting knife with which he threatened to "cut off his b***s" and threatening to kill the other man, Senior Constable Wheaton said.

The complainant man had then run off and hid in bushland about 40m away until Zerbst had driven off in his vehicle, she said.

The victim had then gone home, collected his wife and children and driven to Chinchilla police station to make a complaint.

Zerbst had spent the five days since in custody before pleading guilty to charges of common assault, threatening violence and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

His solicitor Jag MacDonald told the court his client had a heart condition brought on by the frustration and stress arising from the dispute and he had been taken to hospital at the weekend with chest pains.

His client had made numerous complaints to the Stock Squad about cattle disappearing from his property and that the last herd taken amounted to about $65,000, he said.

The past days in the watch house had been the first time his client had been held in custody, Mr MacDonald submitted.

Acting Magistrate Roger Stark accepted, by Zerbst's history, that this incident would appear out of character but that wasn't to say the offending wasn't serious.

"In a civilised society you don't take the action you did, you let the police handle it," Mr Stark told the prisoner.

Mr Stark sentenced Zerbst to three months in jail but suspended the term in full to hang over his head for the next two years.

Zerbst was placed on 12 months probation and disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for six months on the dangerous driving offence.

Topics:  chinchilla court toowoomba


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