Ex-Emanuel directors plead not guilty

Jon BassettCountryman
The Awassi Express berthed at Fremantle Harbour.
Camera IconThe Awassi Express berthed at Fremantle Harbour. Credit: Seven News

Former directors of embattled WA live sheep transporter Emanuel Exports have pleaded not guilty to 16 charges each of animal cruelty.

Graham Richard Daws and Michael Anthony Staunton did not appear in Perth Magistrate’s Court on Friday but pleaded not guilty through their defence team.

The charges were laid after the deaths of 2400 live export sheep aboard the Emanuel-owned vessel Awassi Express on a voyage to the Middle East in 2017.

Outside court, about 20 people held an anti-live sheep export protest, with placards JUsaying: “Live Export, it’s a crime against JUanimals”, “Ban live exports” and “Cooked alive”.

State Solicitor’s Office lawyer David Leigh consented to a request for more information about the case to be disclosed to the men’s lawyers by November 22.

Emanuel Exports’ lawyer Genevieve Cleary said she and her colleagues agreed the information could be dealt with before January 17.

Magistrate Stephen Wilson issued an order for the disclosure of the information by November 22.

“In relation to the accused, the matter will be adjourned until January 17, with pleas of not guilty,” Mr Wilson said.

WA’s live sheep trade was thrown into disarray after footage of dead and heat-stressed sheep aboard the Awassi Express aired on national television on April 8 last year.

It led to a raft of live sheep shipping reforms and a more than three-month trading halt to the Middle East this year during the northern hemisphere summer.

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