Gary the goat got himself into a spot of bother with the law after being caught by police nibbling the hedges out the front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney’s Circular Quay.

He and his owner Jim Dezarnaul were taken from the scene in the back of a police paddy wagon after Jim refused to accept the $440 fine issued to him by the police and chose to fight the vandalism charges in court.

Yesterday man and goat had their day in court, Gary arriving for the occasion resplendently presented in a rainbow coloured hat leading his owner on a satin leash. 

The brown and white billy goat wasn’t called upon to testify but perhaps in a first for Sydney’s District Court an animal did have it’s own legal representation.

Paul McGirr, the goat’s lawyer, said that police had issued the wrong penalty order, because it related to a person and not a goat.

Magistrate Carolyn Barkell agreed with Mr McGirr saying that while there can be no doubt that the goat did eat some vegetation he did so not because he was seeking to vandalise the MCA’s property… But merely because he’s a goat.

Owner Mr Dezarnaul said the case serves as a lesson to overzealous authorities.

“Gary’s name has been cleared of all this slander,” he said. “He was simply eating and I want to thank everyone for coming down here.”

As the television camera’s milled outside the Downing Centre, Gary celebrated the victory of sweet Lady Justice by chewing on a lovely bit of bin liner (see picture above) while Mr Dezarnaul – a comedian by trade – couldn’t help but firing a parting shot at NSW police.

“Gary the goat taught the cops a valuable lesson today, don’t bite off more than you can chew.”