WA shark policy to be challenged in court

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Western Australia’s shark kill policy will be challenged in the courts by Sea Shepherd with the backing of Sharon Burden, the mother of shark attack victim Kyle Burden.

The marine activist group will apply to WA’s Supreme Court calling for a judicial review of the decision to place baited drumlines off the coast in Perth and the state’s south-west.

The case will be supported by Ms Burden, a vocal opponent of the policy despite son Kyle dying when attacked by a great white shark while bodyboarding near Bunker Bay in 2011.

The legal action will be led by Patrick Pearlman, principal solicitor for the Environmental Defender’s Office in WA, and prominent barrister Richard Hooker.

“Sea Shepherd Australia believes that the tender process was unlawful, that the WA state government has been acting unlawfully, that the taking and killing of protected animals was illegal,” Sea Shepherd said in a statement.

“The law contemplates some sort of process being in place to protect these protected animals and that process has been scotched.”

I think we would all benefit from an independent forum.

Sea Shepherd says it is seeking a fast-tracked injunction to remove the drumlines immediately on the basis that a judicial review needs to be conducted into the way the `shark mitigation’ program was rolled out.

Ms Burden said the legal challenge was required to make Premier Colin Barnett and his government provide evidence to support the controversial decision.

“I think we would all benefit from an independent forum that allows us to hear the facts without the politics,” she said.

The government has faced opposition to the policy since it was announced late last year, with rallies on Perth and south-west beaches.

A spokeswoman for Mr Barnett says the premier won’t be commenting as the matter could be going to court.

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