Christchurch man charged with animal cruelty in Australia

A quokka on Rottnest Island (Getty)
A quokka on Rottnest Island (Getty)

The stakes are high for a prominent Christchurch business executive charged with animal cruelty in Western Australia. 

Thirty-seven-year-old father Bevan Hames had his passport confiscated after he allegedly threw a small marsupial, known as a quokka, off a jetty at Rottnest Island, a nature reserve off the coast of Perth.

Mr Hames' Linkedin profile says he is the business development manager at design and construction company Apollo Projects.

Rottnest Island is home to the quokka, a small wallaby-like macropod about the size of a cat. The animals have a reputation for being "friendly" to humans, but it is illegal to feed or touch them.

RSPCA West Australia spokesperson Maree Daniels told Newshub there was no excuse for the mistreatment of the animal.

"It's simply not funny. These animals are defenceless and they are not toys and they shouldn't be subject to this type of behaviour, and there really is simply no excuse. It really is idiotic and it's senseless."

Ms Daniels said the consequences of Mr Hames' actions could be severe.

"Anyone who is doing cruelty to animals will find themselves subject to potentially a prosecution, potentially to a criminal record. They may face other penalties such as jail time, or even up to a $50,000 fine here in Western Australia."

The quokka reportedly swam to shore, where it was later found by a ranger, who said it was in a good state given the circumstances.

Mr Hames will reappear in a Perth court tomorrow. 

In a separate incident last week, a 21-year-old man from Perth filmed a friend chasing a quokka and kicking it at Rottnest.