Two Sydney men have been ordered to pay a $13,500 worth of fines after they were busted illegally hunting deer at Mt Kembla under the cover of darkness.
Fadi Annous and Afif Derbas were fined $7,000 and $6,500 respectively after both men failed to front Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday and were convicted of multiple offences in their absence.
The duo were part of a three-man team accused of illegally entering the Dendrobium Coal site in the early hours of May 18 to hunt feral deer using two large gaming dogs.
Documents previously tendered to the court said police were called to Stones Road just before 2.30am with reports of illegal hunting involving dogs.
They arrived to discover a white Toyota Landcruiser ute with a dog cage parked about 30m from the front entrance of the Dendrobium mine.
A short time later, Dakres Forest homeowner Radwam Alam emerged from nearby bushland in the company of a large dog described by police as an Irish Wolfhound cross.
Officers said the dog appeared to be wet with cuts and abrasions to its feet.
When asked what he was doing in the area, Alam allegedly replied "just taking my dog for a walk".
Alam then told police there were two other men with him and Annous and Derbas appeared a few minutes later from the same direction Alam had come.
They were leading another large Irish Wolfhound, which had a large gash to its throat.
Officers searched the Landscruiser, allegedly uncovering a meat clever under the driver's side floor mat, a black butterfly knife behind the driver's seat and a plethora of torches and radios, commonly used for hunting purposes.
They also discovered a letter from NSW Revenue addressed to Alam regarding a previous fine issued to him last year for illegally hunting with his dogs.
Meanwhile, in a basket on the ute's roof, police located a baby deer whose throat appeared to have been ripped out.
A fresh pool of blood indicated the animal had been killed moments before police arrived, the fact sheet said.
The trio were arrested and questioned, at which time Alam allegedly told police the butterfly knife belonged to his five-year-old son and he "didn't even know it was there".
While waiting for another police vehicle to transport the men, officers walked a short distance into the bushland where they found the carcasses of two more deer.
The first one, a doe, had had its throat slashed and was sporting a flesh wound about 10cm along its right leg, which police believe had been caused by one of the dogs biting and holding the deer as it tried to escape.
The second animal, a buck, had also had its throat slashed. Police believe this deer was responsible for wounding the dog before it was killed.
Officers took several photographs of the dead animals where they lay.
Annous, Derbas and Alam were charged with hunting, trespass and animal cruelty charges.
Alam is yet to enter a plea and will face court at a later date.
Both dogs have been seized by Wollongong City Council rangers.