Sentencing could occur as early as next week for the final four young men caught abusing cows in undercover videos at Canada’s largest dairy farm.
All four, Lloyd Blackwell, Brad Genereux, Jonathan Talbot and Cody Larson, have issued an intention to plead guilty. Larson was scheduled in court on Thursday to plead but that was adjourned as his lawyer and Crown counsel Jim MacAulay are close to arranging a joint submission on sentencing.
MacAulay said in court on June 8 that of the final four accused, there will likely be joint submissions for two of them. Larson is next due in court June 15, while a two-day sentencing hearing after entering guilty pleas is set for the other three men starting June 14.
The men were the last four of seven employees charged, in addition to the company and its owners, and the only ones who had originally pleaded not guilty to the charges that stemmed from undercover videos filmed by animal rights activist group Mercy for Animals at Chilliwack Cattle Sales (CCS).
The MFA footage that resulted during the period between April 30 and June 1, 2014 showed cows repeatedly hit by the men, punching, kicking, tail-twisting and otherwise attacking the cows, often accompanied by cheers.
On May 18, three other employees who pleaded guilty early were sentenced to jail time. Justice Gary Cohen sentenced Travis Keefer to seven days jail and banned him from being in care or control of animals for one year. Chris Vandyke and Jamie Visser were sentenced to 60 days in jail and are banned from owning or handling animals for three years. Their sentences will be served intermittently on weekends to allow them to keep their jobs.
In December, CCS President Kenneth Kooyman pleaded guilty to three charges of animal cruelty on behalf of the farm itself and his brother Wesley, a CCS director, pleaded guilty to one charge personally. They were assessed fines totalling $300,000 in addition to $45,000 in victim fine surcharges.