Accused was charged with unlawfully possessing a cockpit and unlawfully encouraging, aiding or assisting at the fighting or baiting of fighting birds.
The evidence of a Crown expert in the area of illegal animal fighting operations was that the presence of cardboard walls in a corner of the barn where the accused maintained his birds was consistent with other cockpits he had seen, and that the presence of game cocks, sparring muffs and tie cords in the vicinity of that corner of the barn supported a conclusion that the area inside the cardboard walls was a cockpit. There was blood on the cardboard walls and inside the cages of a number of birds, some of whom had injuries. One of the birds had a severe leg injury and peck marks near its eyes, and had to be destroyed by the investigating veterinarian. The injuries were consistent with causes other than cockfighting. The accused gave evidence that he enjoyed cockfighting and saw nothing wrong with pitting one animal against another to the death, but denied that he had used the corner of the barn as a cockpit or that he trained his birds to fight. Held, accused acquitted. Although the circumstances were extremely suspicious, the offences had not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.