Penguin protector assault charge laid on James Oatley
- From: The Daily Telegraph
- January 03, 2011
AN elderly volunteer penguin protector was allegedly pushed to the ground by a member of a prominent yachting family as she tried to guard Manly's endangered colony of little penguins from a dog.Police claim a 27-year-old James Oatley, of the Sydney suburb of Mosman - connected to multimillionaire Robert Oatley, the owner of Wild Oats 11 which took line honours in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race - was among a number of people and a dog aboard a vessel that arrived at Manly Cove about 9pm on Saturday.
The Daily Telegraph reports the dog allegedly jumped from the boat and ran towards the penguins, causing the 72-year-old volunteer to try to head it off.
It is claimed Oatley, whose family own Hamilton Island and Rob Oatley wines, got into an argument, splashing water on the volunteer and pushing her on to the sand.
The head penguin warden Angelika Treichler, one of the other women on duty, said her friend has been left "frail".
"We just tried to set up a barrier between the penguins and the dog, because the dog was running towards the penguin," she said.
"About seven police came to help us after I called, which was a big relief as my friend is over 70 years old and has been left quite frail.
"She's been in bed all day with a headache and sounds dreadful. She's told me she never wants to do the penguin duty ever again."
Ms Treichler described the boat involved as a tender or runabout boat.
Oatley has been charged with common assault and will appear at Manly Local Court on January 27.