Who, age What Where When Last Known Address

Brendan Francis McMahon, 36

mutilated and killed 17 rabbits and a guinea pig

Tamarama, North Sydney, Australia

July 20, 2005 New Zealand
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse
  drug possession

17 rabbits, 1 guinea pig

Dismissed on appealed by reason of mental illness

Sydney Downing Centre Local Court

NSW District Court

A man faced a Sydney court charged with having sexual relations with a rabbit and the sadistic killing of 17 other rabbits whose carcasses were found dumped in a lane in The Rocks.

Brendan Francis McMahon, 36, of Edward Street, North Sydney, appeared briefly before Central Local Court Magistrate Allan Moore today charged with having allegedly committed the offences over the past three weeks.

McMahon, a New Zealand born finance company director, sat quietly in the dock during the hearing at which he was represented by barrister Doug Marr.

No plea was entered to a total of 21 charges laid by The Rocks Police against McMahon, a business partner with Jason Meares, the former brother-in-law of James Packer.

McMahon, who's company website claims he is a former Bachelor of the Year winner, was arrested by detectives from The Rocks Police at a house in Tamarama.

The investigation began after skinned and partially-skinned dead and dying rabbits began to appear in a laneway off York Street, near Circular Quay in late July.

The laneway adjoined a building in which McMahon occupied a first floor office from which he ran a financial planning and mortgage brokerage company.

Before McMahon was charged The Rocks Police alleged some of the rabbits had been thrown from some height into the laneway.

In addition to 17 rabbits, police also found a dead guinea pig in the lane. Alarmed at the continuing discovery of freshly killed rabbits, some whose genitalia had alleged been mutilated, the Rocks detectives began contacting city pet stores to determine who had been buying rabbits.

Police allegedly found that a credit card in McMahon's name had been used to purchase the animals at a number of pet shops. Police also seized a security video showing a man buying a pet.

In all McMahon was charged with 17 counts of acts of aggravated cruelty upon an animal between July 20 and August 11.

He was further charged with committing an act of bestiality with an animal between 3am and 4am on August 1.

McMahon was further charged with two counts of possession of cannabis.  His barrister, Mr Marr, told Mr Moore that McMahon would not be applying for bail but would make a formal application on August 19.

Mr Moore formally refused McMahon bail and ordered him to reappear before the court via a prison video link.

Update 10/13/05:  Accused of bestiality with rabbits and their mutilation deaths, the 36-year-old New Zealand-born businessman found himself in the glare and flashes of television and newspaper cameras when he left Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court.

It was the first time the financier from Tamarama has had to face media in public since being granted $1000 bail three weeks ago. That court hearing was brought on a week ahead of schedule after he had been held in custody pending psychiatric assessment.

McMahon refused to comment about the charges against him as he left the court with his barrister, Doug Marr, moments after he made a brief appearance before Deputy Chief Magistrate Helen Syme.

In addition to the bestiality charges, he is charged with 18 counts of aggravated cruelty to 18 rabbits whose mutilated and partially skinned carcasses, many with their skulls crushed and ears cut off, were found throughout the Sydney CBD over a six-week period in July and August.

Some of the rabbits were found dumped in a lane at The Rocks or inside women's toilets in the York Street building where he operated a financial planning and mortgage brokerage, Meares-McMahon Capital with Jason Meares, the brother of Jodhi Packer.  The company was formerly known as Transpacific Securities.

McMahon has yet to enter a formal plea.

Following his arrest last month, he maintained through his legal counsel that he had been in a drug-induced psychosis caused by smoking the methamphetamine drug "ice" when he committed the acts of cruelty.

According to a statement of police facts, McMahon bought the rabbits, sometimes up to three at a time, from Sydney pet stores with his company American Express card in the name of Meares-McMahon Capital Pty Ltd.

McMahon was granted continuing bail after Mr Marr told Ms Syme that he had received the full brief of police evidence against his client and his legal team needed more time to examine it.

In ordering McMahon to reappear before the court on November 10, Ms Syme ordered that he adhere to existing bail conditions, which include that he report three times a week to Waverley Police, continue seeing a psychiatrist on a weekly basis and not go within 50 metres of any pet shop.  The order includes McMahon not entering rural lands.

Update 11/24/05:  Prosecutors have dropped a charge of bestiality against a Sydney financier, who is accused of aggravated cruelty against rabbits and a guinea pig.

  (Photo courtesy of Jon Reid/The Sydney Morning Herald)

Brendan Francis McMahon was arrested in August and charged with one count of bestiality, 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty and two counts of possessing cannabis.

But when he appeared in Downing Centre Local Court today, prosecutor Laurie Gray withdrew the bestiality charge against McMahon.

No explanation for the withdrawal was given to the court.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson continued McMahon's bail.

He will face the same court on December 16 for a hearing to determine whether he was mentally unwell at the time of the alleged offences.

Update 7/3/06:  A Sydney financier has been jailed for 16 months for "the worst case" of aggravated cruelty against animals.

  (Photo courtesy of Peter Rae/The Sydney Morning Herald)

McMahon, of Tamarama, will have to spend at least 12 months in jail for his torture, mutilation, and alleged sexual offences against 17 rabbits and a guinea pig.

The magistrate, Ian Barnett, said a strong message should be sent to the community that people such as McMahon could not escape responsibility for their actions by the fact they were psychotic at the time.

"In my view this is one of the worst case scenarios of aggravated cruelty to animals," he said.

He accepted McMahon had a lifelong cannabis addiction and, before and during the offences against the animals, had a $125 a day addiction to methamphetamine (also known as ice).

"In my view there is community outrage at this matter and someone should not be allowed to commit such offences of aggravated cruelty against animals and say 'Well I had been using ice at the time. I have been taking cannabis most of my life.'

"My view is ... this is not acceptable."

Update 9/19/06:  A Sydney financier jailed for a year for animal cruelty was today granted bail ahead of an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

McMahon was convicted of 18 counts of animal cruelty over the torture and mutilation death of 17 rabbits and a guinea pig.

In July this year, Downing Centre Local Court Magistrate Ian Barnett jailed McMahon for 16 months, ordering him to serve at least a year behind bars.

Mr Barnett rejected McMahon's bid to mount a mental health defence, finding the psychosis he suffered at the time of the offences was self-induced through the use of cannabis and the methamphetamine ice.

McMahon today appeared in the NSW District Court, seeking bail as he prepares to appeal against his conviction and sentence.  His barrister, Douglas Marr, said the issue of mental illness would again be raised.

He tendered to the Chief Judge Reg Blanch a report on his client by forensic psychiatrist Stephen Allnutt.

"The material that has been tendered to me indicates that Dr Allnutt quite clearly found that (McMahon) was mentally ill within the legal definition of those words and in the ordinary course of events that would lead to a finding that he was not guilty on the grounds of mental illness," Justice Blanch said.  "There is a debate in this case as to whether that condition was self-induced."

Justice Blanch granted McMahon bail, saying he was unlikely to reoffend or fail to show up to court.

He released him on several conditions, including that he report to police three times a week and continue his psychiatric treatment.

The appeal has been set down for October 26.

Update 11/10/06:  The Sydney financier who successfully appealed against a conviction for mutilating and killing 17 rabbits and a guinea pig says he is now drug-free and eager to return to work.

New Zealand-born McMahon, appealed his conviction of 18 counts of animal cruelty on the grounds of mental illness.

He said his mental disorder - which has been described as extreme social anxiety - was aggravated by heavy drug use before and during his offence.

NSW District Court Judge Peter Berman dismissed McMahon's application for costs and said there were no exceptional circumstances in the matter.

Outside Sydney's Downing Centre District Court, McMahon blamed those who had supplied him with the drug, ice, for what had happened and said he was still receiving treatment for drugs.

"Anybody who hands somebody an ice pipe and offers them the drug is not a friend of that person,'' McMahon said.  "I've established a drug-free life, I've got married and now I'm going to get on with the rest of my life.''   He said his friends and family had stuck by him throughout the court hearings.  "You don't lose good friends,'' he said.

Psychiatrist Stephen Allnutt earlier told the appeal hearing that McMahon suffers from an underlying mental illness which was exacerbated by his drug use.

Judge Berman found Mr McMahon could not be held responsible for his actions given his mental disorder.

The court was previously told McMahon was smoking $250 worth of ice, or crystal methamphetamine, every three days before he used his company credit card to purchase animals before torturing them to death and dumping their corpses in and around his inner city office building.

"When you experience psychosis and then you come out of psychosis you don't really remember much at all, so it was like it never happened or it happened to another, a different person,'' Mr McMahon said outside the court today.  "So ... it's hard to feel a lot of the types of feelings you'd think that you would have, but that's what psychosis is."  He said he was relieved to be acquitted of the charges.

"I think the justice system finally worked it through and the law was applied by more learned men than perhaps in the local court,'' he said.

A former cocaine and cannabis user, McMahon said his recreational use of ice became "very regular" after only two to three months.

"I think I was burned out and self-medicating and had experienced different drugs before but never became addicted,'' he said.

Mr McMahon said there should be more government programs to help ice addicts.  "It always surprised me that you could get ice pipes in tobacconists and the state government collects GST on those and they're all imported from China which is where most of this comes from.  "If you use ice, you'll either end up in a mental institution, or in jail, or dead. "Ice is a problem that the government can fix."


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