AN EPPING Forest grazier has been fined for animal cruelty and mismanagement.
Philip Colin Osborne, 61, had contested the three charges in the Launceston Magistrates Court in June.
Magistrate Simon Brown found Osborne guilty of all charges - one of cruelty and two of mismanagement - in August.
Yesterday Mr Brown convicted and fined Osborne $8000 and ordered him to pay $77.40 costs.
He said it was not a case of "mala fides" - meaning "bad faith" - but one of poor management and planning that had caused the sheep to suffer.
Mr Brown said jail, immediate or suspended, was not warranted in Osborne's case.
"A fine of sufficient magnitude will be a deterrent to Mr Osborne and others," he said.
Mr Brown said the case also differed from a recent animal cruelty case before Magistrate Reg Marron, where a former North-West dairy farmer was sentenced to a 15-month jail term for almost 190 animal cruelty charges.
Osborne's offending occurred in mid-2011.
Authorities found about 300 merino weaners that were in very poor condition at his Fairfield property.
Osborne had been interstate from June 10 to 20, and had left an employee in charge of his sheep.
When authorities interviewed Osborne, he accepted that "something like 230 to 240 of the tail of approximately 300 sheep ended up dead between shearing and the date that he returned from the mainland".
The defence had argued that very bad weather was a factor in the animals' ill health, but Mr Brown said that wet, cold and windy weather was to be expected in June in Tasmania.
Osborne plans to contest further charges of animal cruelty at a hearing in the Launceston Magistrates Court on January 31 at 9.45am.
The matters are also listed for mention on December 17.