Update on first vicarious liability prosecution

wane1Regular blog readers will know that we’ve been interested in the first prosecution of a landowner under the vicarious liability legislation for some time now….in fact ever since the legislation was enacted as part of the WANE Act on 1st January 2012 (see here for background info on what vicarious liability is and to what wildlife crime offences it can be applied).

We believe the first prosecution relates to the employers of gamekeeper and (now ex) SGA member Peter Bell, who was convicted in June 2013 of various poisoning offences that took place in December 2012 on the Glasserton & Physgill Estates. Those offences included laying a poisoned bait that subsequently killed a buzzard, and the possession of three banned poisons (Carbofuran, Strychnine and Alphachloralose) found in his tool shed and in his home (see here).

We’ve been asking whether there would be a vicarious liability prosecution against Bell’s employers for over a year, but each time we asked, various obstructions were put in our way (see here and here). However, in May this year, Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse announced during a parliamentary debate on raptor persecution that vicarious liability proceedings had commenced (see here).

Since May, we’ve heard nothing at all, which we find surprising given the high level of public interest in how this new (well, nearly 3-year-old now)  and significant legislation will work.

We’ve been doing quite a lot of research since then and have finally discovered that this case is indeed in progress, and the next court hearing will take place next week. It won’t be an evidence-led hearing – it’s a special hearing that is designed to hear legal arguments. What happens next will depend on what the Sheriff decides at the end of the hearing. We’ll keep you posted.

We’ve also heard that there is a second vicarious liability case underway…..more on that in due course.


1 Response to “Update on first vicarious liability prosecution”

  1. 1 Tony Warburton MBE
    October 17, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    What planet did Alex Hogg come from? The man is mind blowing. Just saw a pig fly across the moon!!!

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