#TheList Daniel Challis, born c. 1992, of Westhill Road, Torquay, and Cheryl Stevens, born c. 1989, of Brecon Close, Paignton – handed suspended prison sentences after a goldfish was swallowed for a drinking challenge
Timber merchant Daniel Challis was convicted of animal cruelty after gulping down the fish as a “neknominate” stunt.
Challis’ friend Cheryl Stevens filmed the stunt and posted a clip on Facebook, which was spotted by the RSPCA.
The pair were both charged with causing unnecessary suffering to the animal and failing in their duty of care.
The neknominate drinking craze, which was popular on social media in 2014, involves posting a video of someone downing drinks in an extreme manner and then nominating others to do the same.
Challis and Stevens both denied the charges, insisting they believed the fish was dead.
But Kevin Withey, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said the video showed it was “crystal clear” the fish was alive, describing the incident as a “bravado exercise”.
He told the court: “You can see the fish moving in the pint glass and you can see it moving in the accused’s hand.
“His hand is rock steady and the fish is moving.”
They were found guilty of cruelty but cleared of the further charge of failing in their duty to protect the fish.
Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Jo Pearson said: “The goldfish was clearly alive in the footage and would have suffered an unpleasant death.
“Hopefully the outcome of this case demonstrates to people who think that such stunts might be funny that they’re actually acts of cruelty, and the courts clearly take a dim view of them.”
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months; 200 hours of unpaid work; £1,085.25 in costs plus £115 victim surcharge. The pair were banned from keeping fish for five years.