Two men accused of killing a duck in Williamson Park have been found not guilty following a trial.
Lloyd Ward, 19, of Hinde Street, and Sean Doyle, 20, of Dunkeld Street, Lancaster, pleaded not guilty to charges of causing the death of a Mallard in the park on April 29.
Mr John Abbott, prosecuting, said that a photo had been posted on social network site Facebook showing Mr Ward holding up an injured duck by its wings, “like a trophy”.
Mr Doyle was also pictured in the photograph.
Another grisly photograph presented to magistrates in Lancaster last Friday showed a bloodied duck crushed beneath a rock, found in the park the next day. Mr Doyle, who was already in custody and shouted “this is quackers” from the dock, said that he had been inside the shelter next to the duck pond in the park, and only came out to pose for the photo.
Both defendants admitted they had drunk two cans of lager on the day in question.
Witnesses said they heard “sploshing” in the water, similar to that of stones being thrown, but conceded that they had not seen stones actually being thrown.
When questioned by Mr Abbott, Mr Ward said that he had seen a duck being attacked by other ducks on the pond, and had thrown a stick into the water intending to cause a “wave” that would push the duck towards him.
He said he had been “trying to get the duck to safety”, and then picked it up out of the water and held it out by the tips of its wings, posing for the photograph.
He said he was smiling in the photograph because he was happy that he had saved the duck.
Both defendants said they didn’t think the duck was dead at the time and did not know how it came to be crushed under the rock.
Mr David Mainwaring, defending, said that there was no case to answer due to evidence being circumstantial.
However, magistrates decided that there was, and heard evidence from the two defendants.
Despite finding the pair not guilty, due to there being no proof that they had intended to kill the bird, magistrates said they were certain Mr Ward and Mr Doyle had been involved in some kind of violent incident with a duck and described the “trophy photo” posted on Facebook as “disgusting”.