Archive for the '2009 persecution incidents' Category


Glen Orchy case concludes: call this justice?

So, three years and three months later, the infamous Glen Orchy case has concluded. Tom McKellar, previously described as a gamekeeper but curiously now described as a farmer, has been fined £1,200 for possessing the banned pesticide, Carbofuran.

The Crown Office press release (here) doesn’t mention anything of the poisoned golden eagle that was found in Glen Orchy and prompted the search of McKellar’s house, which led to the discovery of the Carbofuran. Although it does mention how he was previously given a 300-hour community service order for the possession of illegal handguns (instead of the mandatory five-year prison sentence), also found during the search of his house.

Of course, McKellar wasn’t charged with laying poisoned baits (even though he reportedly admitted to doing so during an interview), and nor was he charged with poisoning that golden eagle, because even though he had this rare, banned poison in his house, and lived just down the road from where the dead eagle had been found, and he’d previously admitted to laying out poisoned baits, there apparently wasn’t enough evidence to link him to the poisoned eagle.

But this story doesn’t end there. There are other things that went on (or more to the point, didn’t go on) in this investigation and we’ll be discussing those in due course, including the failure to charge a second person….

Meanwhile, we’ll add this poisoned golden eagle to the growing list of illegally-killed eagles for which nobody has ever been (nor will be) prosecuted. Justice?

RSPB press statement here

Previous blogs on this case here, here, here, here, here,here here, here


Glen Orchy farce continues

The Glen Orchy case against Tom McKellar continued at Oban Sheriff Court last Friday (27 July) with yet more legal argument.

You won’t be surprised to learn that sentencing has once again been deferred. Next court date is in early September.


Glen Orchy gamekeeper tries to change his plea

Here’s some insight into what is causing the delay in the sentencing of Tom McKellar in the Glen Orchy poison case. From yesterday’s Press & Journal:

An Argyll farmer is attempting to take back his plea of guilty to having a deadly poison which has been banned after being linked to the killing of birds of prey.

Tom McKellar, 50, of Fir Park Cottage, Auch Estate, Bridge of Orchy, originally pleaded guilty at Oban Sheriff Court to possessing the pesticide Carbofuran, a pesticide outlawed for more than 10 years, at his home in June 2009.

At a hearing in May his defence solicitor David McKie, in his plea in mitigation, said that his client did not realise the poison was Carbofuran.

Sheriff Douglas Small then queried if McKellar should be pleading guilty, and he continued the case for legal debate until yesterday [Wednesday 25 July 2012].

But when the case called yesterday McKellar had new legal representation in the form of solicitor Cameron Tait who sought permission from Sheriff Small to withdraw the guilty plea and replace it with a not guilty one.

This motion was “strenuously opposed” by fiscal Kate Fleming and a day-long legal debate took place.

Mr Tait said: “He advised police that he thought the poison was Wetex. He said he didn’t know what Carbofuran was. He had been supplied with it by the estate”.

Miss Fleming argued that this was not a defence. She said there was an absence of language such as “knowingly” possessing Carbofuran in the charge.

Sheriff Small adjourned the case until tomorrow [today, Friday 27 July 2012] to hear more legal arguments from the Crown and the defence.

It emerged at previous court hearings that police were investigating the death of a golden eagle in Glen Orchy in June 2009 when they obtained a search warrant for McKellar’s house. They found granules of Carbofuran in a game bag in his porch. Police also found the carcases of a sheep and a fox laced with Carbofuran.

Miss Fleming previously told the court that since 1988, there have been 240 fatal poisonings of wildlife by Carbofuran, mostly birds of prey.

The case resumes today. If the Sheriff accepts McKellar’s not guilty plea then presumably this case could go to trial at a later date.

For background information on this case, click on the ‘Glen Orchy’ tag at the top of this post.

Thank you to the contributor who sent us the Press & Journal clipping.


Glen Orchy sentencing update #2

Another delay….adjourned, again. Next hearing will be Friday (27 July).

Tick tock.


Glen Orchy sentencing update

It looks like McKellar’s sentencing has been delayed again. Now apparently scheduled for Wednesday (25th July).


Glen Orchy poison case: sentence due today

It’s been a long time coming. A very long time. Over three years. But today is the day Tom McKellar is sentenced for possession of Carbofuran, found at his house in June 2009 during a police investigation into the poisoning of a golden eagle (see here, here, here and here).

McKellar wasn’t charged in relation to the dead eagle, just for possession of a banned pesticide, to which he pleaded guilty. There’s a lot more to this case than has previously been reported, and once sentencing has finished we’ll have a few things to say.

So what do you think his punishment will be? Six hours on the naughty step?


Case against alleged wild-bird egg trader continues

The lengthy legal proceedings against Inverness man Keith Liddell (see here for background), who is accused on various counts including trading in wild-bird eggs, has continued at Inverness Sheriff Court today.

Liddell, who has denied all the charges against him, will now stand trial on 22 October 2012, with an intermediate diet on 25 September 2012.

According to an earlier STV report, the list of raptor species whose eggs he is alleged to have handled includes merlin, lesser kestrel, snowy owl, griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, red kite, tawny owl, rough-legged buzzard, black kite and booted eagle. The report states that Liddell was alleged to have been found with 136 wild birds’ eggs at his Inverness home on Holm Dell Drive on June 24 2009 (see here).

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