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Greyhound trainer says he used fake rabbit

AAP logoAAP 10/10/2016 Andi Yu

A Sydney greyhound trainer denies using a live rabbit to train his dogs, saying he instead used a "very life-like" fake rabbit, his lawyer has told a court.

Cabramatta-based trainer Chad Joseph Achurch says what police saw him using to train his greyhounds in pictures saved on his phone wasn't a real rabbit.

The 27-year-old was charged on Monday with two counts of torturing an animal to death, two counts of aggravated cruelty upon an animal and two counts of using an animal as a lure for training greyhounds.

All six charges relate to the treatment of a white rabbit, court documents show.

On Tuesday Liverpool Local Court magistrate Darryl Pearce refused Achurch bail, saying the allegations were too serious to justify release.

Achurch was sitting in the dock at the same time as NSW government ministers met to ditch the statewide greyhound racing ban Premier Mike Baird announced three months ago.

The political connection to Achurch's alleged offences was not lost on the magistrate who said in court he was unsure what the government's final decision would be.

The prosecution submitted to the court that Achurch, whose offences are all dated August 11, would have been aware his actions were wrong given heavy media coverage of the issue.

Achurch's lawyer, Mark Rumore said his client "totally denied" using a live rabbit and that using a fake rabbit, or "lure", was very common in the greyhound racing industry.

"It's a squealing rabbit, which you can buy, which is very life-like," he said.

"It emits the sounds and smells of a rabbit and the dogs will attack it ferociously."

Achurch also denies any presence of "blood and bones", which police allege is seen in the pictures found on his phone.

Mr Rumore's main argument for his client's release was that the pictures and video police took from Achurch's phone were "inadmissible" as evidence in court.

Police stumbled across the evidence during a voluntary visit Achurch made to a police station on September 28 for an unrelated matter, the lawyer said.

Police downloaded all the phone's contents - a move Mr Rumore submitted was "most improper" - and allegedly found content showing Achurch torturing and beating a rabbit to death.

The 27-year-old has not had his dogs taken by the RSPCA, nor has he been disciplined by the state's greyhound racing authority who gave him approval to race dogs about a year ago, Mr Rumore said.

Mr Pearce said the defence case did not carry much weight and that the prosecution case against Achurch was strong.

"If convicted of the offence, I am of the view that he's very likely to serve a term of imprisonment," he said.

Achurch's sister and mother sitting in the public gallery in court wept as they heard he would remain behind bars.

"We'll support my brother all the way, so you can move away now," the sister told reporters as she left court.

Achurch will return to court on November 23.

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