Kangaroo torturer Luke Kevin Dempster sentenced to two years jail

Luke Kevin Dempster entering Joondalup Magistrates Court this morning. Picture: Anton La Macchia
Luke Kevin Dempster entering Joondalup Magistrates Court this morning. Picture: Anton La Macchia

KANGAROO torturer and former bikie associate Luke Kevin Dempster (26) was jailed for two years in Joondalup Magistrates Court this morning over “appalling” animal cruelty and his role in the firing of a gel blaster gun in Craigie.

Magistrate Gregory Benn, who said it would be “some time” before he got Dempster’s video footage of the horrific attacks “out of my mind”, sentenced the Wanneroo man to 11 months jail over the May 19 torture of a kangaroo at an unknown location in which a knuckleduster-wearing Dempster punched the extremely distressed animal 11 times.

He received a six-month jail term for “the appalling offence” of setting a chicken alight and discharging an explosive device under it nine seconds later in March. “That’s a long time to be burning alive,” Mr Benn said after asking Dempster if he had stopped since to “count out the seconds”. “Only hope the explosive… brought an end to its life and suffering.”

Animal rights activists outside Joondalup Magistrates Court today. Picture: J Bianchini

Mr Benn, who described the kangaroo attacks as “violent, vicious, protracted” and said Dempster had shown “not one ounce of compassion”, received five months jail for his role in actively encouraging the stabbing of a kangaroo 22 times by an associate some time between May 19 and June 16.

Dempster was also the driver of a vehicle in which his passenger fired a gel blaster gun at three people in Craigie in September.

He received two sentences of four months to be served concurrently for his role in the assaults, and two months jail for his part in an assault in circumstances of aggravation – over an eight-year-old boy who was with his father when the latter was struck by projectiles in the chest and stomach.

“Your offending has had significant impact on many people and it’s fair and reasonable to say on the community generally,” Mr Benn said. The magistrate asked what impact his offending had had on his six-year-old son; “you didn’t think about him.” “You just thought about yourself and the gratification of your own desires and objectives.”

Mr Benn said Dempster showed “no regard for people” in the gel blaster attacks on September 4 and had been “extremely fortunate” there was no serious injury to someone’s eye or face.

He said he was concerned Dempster’s use of weapons had escalated from possession – he has previous convictions for possessing a golf club, knife, knuckledusters, slingshot and ammunition.

Dempster received a one-month jail term, to be served concurrently, for possessing knuckledusters.

The court heard the black eye that Dempster appeared with in court in September was inflicted by the bikie gang he was associating with – named in court in September as the Rebels – as part of expulsion from the group.

Luke Kevin Dempster outside Joondalup Magistrates Court in September. Photo: The West Australian

His lawyer said he was no longer associated with the gang, which his client had wanted to be accepted by. “I’m not trying to excuse the behaviour.”

Mr Benn said it was “extremely poor decisions you made all along the way to be involved in this (motorcycle) group”. “This didn’t happen overnight.”

He accepted Dempster was ashamed of his behaviour.

“This is shame about being caught, being publicised,”  the magistrate said.

The court heard Dempster had started counselling for alcohol and marijuana abuse. His lawyer said he had been so intoxicated during the punching attack on the kangaroo he had not realised what he had done until seeing the video.

Mr Benn said being “so affected” by alcohol Dempster had still been able to film the attack and use the mobile phone’s camera zoom.

The gel blaster and a gun used by an associate in the kangaroo killing have not been recovered by police. And other offenders present during the animal cruelty remain unidentified.

Dempster’s lawyer said he had not helped police with these matters because he feared for his and his family’s life.

The police prosecutor called for a jail sentence, citing the precedent of “a famous case” in June 2015 in Bunbury in which an accused had been jailed for killing a kangaroo by throwing rocks and hitting it on the back of the head with a pole. Dempster and his associates’ “idea of entertainment is inhumane”.

And he said one could only guess what was going through the mind of the people who came under attack from the gel blaster. “I’m sure fear was one of them,” the prosecutor said.

Dempster will be eligible for parole after serving half his sentence because of his lack of a record on similar offences, his family support and his prospects of employment with his father’s flooring business.