Cat Thrown From Balcony Ruled A 'Tragic Accident'
The unfortunate demise of a playful kitty, thrown in a rugby pass-like motion from a 45th floor Melbourne balcony, has been declared a "tragic accident".
Chau Chau the cat died in April last year after being tossed out of an apartment door by his owner's then-boyfriend, 20-year-old Cheng Lu.
Magistrate Constantinos Kilias on Tuesday dismissed charges of animal cruelty and reckless endangerment against Mr Lu, finding "it was not deliberate" that the university computer sciences student had thrown the cat over the balcony.
"This was a terrible accident which led to the death of an innocent and apparently, on all accounts, playful pet. But it was not deliberate," he said.
Mr Lu told the court he only meant to throw Chau Chau outside to "give the cat a lesson" after it scratched his leg, and hadn't intended it to fall 45 storeys to its death.
Mr Lu's then-girlfriend Kaiqi Chen said she stepped out of the shower just in time to see one-year-old Chau Chau "in the air".
"I saw the cat being thrown out," she told the court with the help of a Chinese interpreter.
Senior Constable Tom Roberts had argued Chau Chau's trajectory, flying two-and-a-half metres through the air from inside the apartment to over the balcony, didn't add up to an accident.
"The cat went so far the only inference that can be drawn was the intention was to put the cat over the balcony," he said.
But Mr Kilias rejected the argument, saying that was not the only inference that could be drawn, creating reasonable doubt as to Mr Lu's intent.