IN THE NEWS: On MAR 13, 2017
A 21-YEAR-OLD who laughed and filmed a man on his mobile phone as the man kicked a quokka into the air on Rottnest Island has been fined $3500.
Corey Douglas James was arrested after he uploaded footage onto Snapchat showing what police alleged in court today was his friend Harrison Angus McPherson, 20, kicking a quokka on February 11.
The disturbing footage was widely shared online and sparked a social media name-and-shame campaign that led police quickly to the men.
James was fined and was denied a spent conviction after he pleaded guilty to ill treating the animal in Fremantle Magistrate's Court this morning.
The court was told the boilermaker lost his fly-in, fly-out job on the Wheatstone project after the footage went viral because his employer could not guarantee his safety.
Defence lawyer Nicole Young said James had been drinking throughout the day and he admitted he had encouraged his friend by laughing and filming him.
She told the court James was laughing at his friend's un-coordinated attempt at kicking the quokka, not at the animal cruelty.
Ms Young said the backlash to the footage had been extraordinary and had resulted in frightening and disturbing threats that had left her client reclusive.
"My client is extremely ashamed by his actions," she said.
"This has been a very grave ordeal for him to be involved in."
Police said Mr McPherson initially missed the quokka when he swung his boot at the animal in an enclosed rear courtyard of a chalet. He connected with a second kick, sending the quokka flying into the front wall of the property as James laughed , police said.
James told police he had a conversation with Mr McPherson before he got his phone out ready to film, but he can not remember exactly what they spoke about.
Police prosecutors said James did not open the gate for the trapped quokka or try to stop Mr McPherson despite the animal squealing in pain.
They argued James bragged about his exploits by uploaded the footage to Snapchat.
Magistrate Peter Malone said quokkas needed to be nurtured and he expected there had been an increased prevalence in attacks on the animals.
He refused to grant James a spent conviction despite his lack of prior criminal record, saying he should not be relieved of the consequences.
"The reality is we all know this cruel footage went viral," he said.
"You were part and parcel of the activity."There was an understandable community reaction and disgust."
The quokka has never been found and the extent of its injuries is not known.
Rottnest police were waiting at the jetty when the two men tried to leave the island by ferry.They were charged and evicted from the island.
Mr McPherson also appeared in court today but his case was adjourned until May to allow him to get legal advice.Animal cruelty carries a maximum penalty of five years jail and a $50,000 fine.