Animal cruelty charges relating to the deaths of 59 cattle aboard a ship on the Bass Strait in 2016 should be thrown out, a lawyer has argued.
Defence lawyer Robert Taylor is representing the company HW Greenham and Sons, which owned some of the cattle.
In the Burnie Magistrates Court on Monday before Magistrate Tamara Jago he said some of the charges "ought to be struck out" as they were "defective".
HW Greenham and Sons has been charged alongside Graeme Pretty and John McGee with aggravated cruelty, cruelty to animals and using methods of management of animals likely to result in unreasonable and unjustifiable pain and suffering.
The parties have all pleaded not guilty to all charges.
On Monday, Mr Taylor said Crown prosecutor Simon Nicholson had failed to properly outline the details of the charges and how they related both to his client and defendant Graeme Pretty.
Mr Taylor said the defendants had sought clarity from Mr Nicholson on a number of occasions in recent years but had been rebuffed.
"What are we charged with and how do you say we did it?" Mr Taylor asked.
Mr Taylor took particular issue with an aspect of a charge which implied the company had boarded the ship on which the cattle died.
"A fair reading... must mean that Greenhams departed on that vessel," Mr Taylor said.
"A body corporate... with no soul to damn... boarded a vessel and travelled across the Bass Strait?"
Mr Nicholson said the charges had been correctly applied to allege the defendants utilised the ship to transport the cattle.
Ms Jago questioned whether a decision in the defendant's favour would be fatal to Mr Nicholson's case, which he said he would address if that circumstance arose.
Mr Taylor said it was "breathtaking" for a prosecutor to seek to amend their own case if a future ruling is against them.
Ms Jago said this now four-year-old matter must be finalised "eventually", and adjourned to June 29 at 2.15pm to deliver a decision.
The story 'The charges are defective' defence lawyer in Bass Strait cattle death case argues first appeared on The Advocate.