Man fights charges in mysterious cattle theft case
COWS without calves and analysis of tyre markings are among the issues discussed during the first day of a court hearing into the alleged theft of cattle from a property.
Trevor Douglas Zielke of Clinton yesterday pleaded not guilty to various charges relating to stock theft.
The charges relate to events that police allege took place at Nagoorin about 70km southwest of Gladstone between February 10 and February 15 last year.
The court was told a truck driver attended Mr Zielke's property off Aerodrome Rd, Boyne Valley, on February 12 to collect cattle to go to sale.
It is alleged Mr Zielke asked the driver if he wanted to take another group of cattle belonging to neighbours because he was sick of them getting into his place.
The driver declined and left with the cattle he came for.
The court heard that afternoon a worker at Stockwell Station found a group of cows he did not recognise.
On the following day, tyre tracks were also found on the property and police allege they were distinctive because of heavy rain earlier in the week.
The court heard some of the cows were traced back to their owner, Robert Lindly, who works with Kyle Beale.
In his testimony, Mr Beale said he attended the Stockwell property on the morning of February 13 to collect the animals.
When he noticed five cows had full udders, he questioned why there were no calves and called neighbours to ask if they had seen anything strange.
Mr Beale said he met the owner of Stockwell the next day to inspect the tyre tracks.
He said he also saw cow tracks but nothing that looked to belong to a calf.
Mr Beale drove around the area to see if he could find similar vehicle markings, as he felt they were distinctive.
He went into Mr Zielke's property, who he did not know, where he found five weaners in a yard as well as a truck.
Finding no one home, Mr Beale called the police.
A warrant was issued and several cattle and the truck were seized.
In the opening statement for the prosecution, senior constable Carl Spargo said the case revolves around events that were circumstantial in nature, but given all of the evidence together, he was hopeful the outcome would be favourable on all three charges.
The case relies on seven witnesses including the truck driver, cattle workers, a member of the stock squad and an officer who gave evidence in relation to tyre tracks.
For the defence, lawyer Rowan King told the court that there was nothing linking Mr Zielke to the transportation of cattle, or being involved in their delivery as alleged, other than speculation.
Mr King said the defendant had located some cattle that weren't his, left them in a yard, and admitted to feeding them and having them in his possession for about 48 hours.
The case continues.