Four little piggies went to a Deakin backyard, but a former international fugitive was not to blame.
That was Magistrate Glenn Theakston's verdict on Thursday afternoon as he cleared Canberra electrician Owen Van Duren of possessing stolen piglets.
Mr Theakston also found the 40-year-old not guilty of a series of weapons possession and cannabis cultivation charges, saying it was unclear whether the man occupied the property where each of the items were discovered.
At the culmination of a three-day hearing in the ACT Magistrates Court, Mr Theakston said much of the evidence was not in dispute.
It was accepted that juvenile piglets located in the backyard of a home owned by Mr Van Duren's brother Shane on September 2 last year had been nicked a few days earlier, along with other animals, from the Yarralumla Play Station.
Police spotted the piglets in the yard after sending a drone into the air to scour the area, having received a tip from someone who had heard unusual squealing.
When officers subsequently entered the backyard, they discovered a hydroponic cannabis growing set-up in a garden shed, as well as a number of guns and firearm suppressors in a shipping container.
Some crossbows were also located, though it was unclear exactly where each was found, while a prohibited knife was stashed in the kitchen of the house.
Prosecutor Christina Muthurajah argued Mr Van Duren had lived in the home at the relevant time, and the inference could therefore be drawn that he was responsible for the items in question.
She said the 40-year-old's partner, Nantana Piewwong, had told police the couple lived there and Mr Van Duren had asked her to feed the piglets "scraps".
Ms Muthurajah said Mr Van Duren's fingerprints had also been found on some of the weapons and on a light above the cannabis plants.
Things around the home also suggested the man lived there, she said, pointing to items such as two-day-old registration papers and a prescription in his name.
Ms Muthurajah described Mr Van Duren as having been "evasive about his address" when questioned by police.
Defence lawyer Stephanie Beckedahl told the court there was "great uncertainty" about who lived at the Deakin home.
She said everyone seemed to agree Mr Van Duren's brother had resided there at some stage, though he told police he was now in Holt, and it was possible Mr Van Duren and his partner might have lived there at some stage.
But she said Mr Theakston would not be able to find beyond reasonable doubt her client occupied the premises at the relevant time, saying Mr Van Duren's brother may have had "care, control or management" of the piglets, weapons and cannabis plants.
Ms Beckedahl also pointed to a number of unidentified fingerprints found in areas of significance to show "unknown persons" may have been responsible for the presence of those things.
Mr Theakston ultimately said it was "very difficult to form a view" about who lived there at the time in question.
He said it would be "dangerous" to place much weight on anything said by Ms Piewwong, who had made a number of inconsistent comments to police, perhaps because she was not particularly proficient in English.
Mr Theakston also said it was possible Mr Van Duren's fingerprints and DNA were present at the property because his brother owned the place and he had touched items there while visiting.
"It's just unclear who was utilising the house," the magistrate said.
Mr Van Duren, who made headlines in 2018 after sailing a yacht through pirate-infested waters to escape charges in Thailand, spent almost six months behind bars awaiting this week's hearing.
He was released from custody immediately when the case concluded on Thursday.
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