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TT-Line appeal over pony deaths dismissed

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The Spirit Of Tasmania operator is set to face trial over the deaths of polo ponies in January 2018, after a challenge against one of the charges was dismissed by the Full Court of Appeal on Friday.

A ruling by Chief Justice Alan Blow in November last year found TT-Line can be held criminally responsible or even charged for the deaths of the horses.

They were found deceased at a property in regional Victoria having travelled on the ferry from Devonport the previous evening, having just competed at the annual Barnbougle Polo Tournament.

On Friday at the Supreme Court, lawyers for TT-line attempted to overturn Chief Justice Blow's decision on one specific charge relating to method of management of 18 ponies which were being transported in a trailer.

They essentially argued the charge was too broad, with multiple allegations "rolled into one" and that it was unfair to defend the case in how it was currently stated.

Crown Prosecutor Simon Nicholson countered that it would be "equally messy if there were 7 separate charges", but did agree to slightly amend the wording to clarify.

Eventually the three Justices dismissed the appeal, with the reasons reserved for now.

It clears the way for a trial to be heard in the Magistrates Court in June this year.

In separate proceedings, one of the owners, his company Willo Polo and his employer Twynam Agricultural Group, are also suing TT-Line for negligence, claiming $739,000 in losses through the Supreme Court of Victoria.