Case against gamekeeper George Mutch: part 8

scales of justiceCriminal proceedings continued today with hearing #9 in the case against Scottish gamekeeper George Mutch, of Kildrummy Estate, Aberdeenshire.

We understand that Mutch is pleading not guilty to a suite of charges for offences alleged to have taken place in August 2012. The charges come under Section 5 (subsection 1B) of the Wildlife & Countryside Act (relating to the use of a trap for the purpose of taking or killing wild birds) and Section 1 (subsection 1A) of the W&CA (relating to the killing, injuring or taking of wild birds).

Today’s hearing was supposed to be the last intermediate diet before the trial, which had been due to start on 28th May 2014. However, at today’s hearing, a further intermediate diet was announced (24th September 2014!!!) with a new trial date set for 22nd October 2014. Marvellous.

If the trial does go ahead in October 2014 (and it may not, depending on the outcome of the Sept intermediate diet), it will have been over two years since the alleged offences took place.

Here’s a chronology of the hearing dates in this case:

11th September 2013 (case opened)

2nd October 2013 (hearing #2)

30th October 2013 (hearing #3)

27th November 2013 (hearing #4)

17th December 2013 (hearing #5)

17th March 2014 (hearing #6)

2nd April 2014 (hearing #7)

16th April 2014 (hearing #8)

13th May 2014 (hearing #9)

Previous blogs on this case here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

11 Responses to “Case against gamekeeper George Mutch: part 8”

  1. 1 nirofo
    May 13, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    What’s betting the trial ends the way many other wildlife crime trials end, xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

    [Ed: comment partially edited – perhaps being overly-cautious but…]

  2. 2 Fay M
    May 13, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    How much public money is this case costing and it’s not even at trial yet. Is it now common practice to drag a case on for so long? in the faint hope the charges will be forgotton

    • 3 crypticmirror
      May 13, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      I don’t know how old Mister Mutch is, but if he is in his late 50s to 60s the idea might just to be to keep kicking it down the road until he is over retirement age and therefore the Prosecuting equation kicks in on whether there is much public interest pursuing a prosecution of someone who is no longer in the industry and unlikely to allegedly cause any further harm (or to see if he dies before it can move to full trial). There is also the long-held legal tradition of playing for time in the hope that witnesses recant or their memory fades, and that evidence is lost in the bureaucratic shuffle (note I’m not alleging any tampering from anyone, just the vagaries of time and paperwork creating problems).

      [Ed: There is also the possibility that Sept is the next available court date, although a four-month blockage on court availability does seem far-fetched. We’re clearly not going to be told why this case has suffered such a prolonged delay – we’ll just have to sit tight and wait to see what happens].

  3. 4 Marco McGinty
    May 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I believe the system to be corrupt.

  4. 6 Carrie
    May 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I was going to say ‘unbelievable’, but…

  5. 7 Chris Roberts
    May 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I confess that I don’t know much about the criminal justice system, but to a layman such as I, it does seem absurd at how long a case can drag out together with the gigantic cost involved to us, the Taxpayer. I suppose the lawyers are getting very rich though!

  6. 8 Dave
    May 13, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    So many intermediate diets is not unheard of, it’s usually the defence claiming they need time to prepare the defence, or availability of counsel

    • 9 nirofo
      May 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      If they carry on dieting the way they are they’ll just wither away and disappear! AH, now I see the plot.

  7. 10 Dougie
    May 14, 2014 at 8:22 am

    If all is above board then any criminal justice system (irrespective of the type of crime involved) that permits such delays is clearly inefficient to the point where it is unworkable and long overdue for overhaul and radical streamlining. I don’t believe that it is anything like impossible to significantly improve matters.

    • 11 nirofo
      May 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      No not inefficient, they are obviously working to a planned objective where prevarication is used as a legal method of stalling the trial in the hope that the sheriff / judge or whatever gets fed up and throws the case out.

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