Ross-shire Massacre: Police Scotland, see what you’ve done?

idiot alertLast Friday, Police Scotland put out an idiotic press release stating that they could now CONFIRM that the 22 raptors illegally poisoned in the Ross-shire Massacre seven months ago “were most likely not deliberately targeted“. It was an astonishing statement, not least because they had ruled out criminal intent before they’d even got a suspect, and despite the fact that those birds are known to have been killed with a banned poison. We blogged about it here and we’ll be blogging further on this shortly, following the grilling that senior police officers received during yesterday’s Scot Gov RACCE Committee hearing (see here).

Following that Police Scotland press statement, Tim (Kim) Baynes of Scottish Land & Estates wrote a letter to the Herald complaining about media speculation and stating (falsely) that raptor persecution crimes had declined (see here).

In response to that letter, yesterday Duncan Orr-Ewing of RSPB Scotland set out the facts about the increase in raptor persecution crimes (see here).

Today, another letter has appeared in the Herald, in response to Duncan Orr-Ewing’s letter. This letter was tweeted by the SGA this morning, with the following statement: “Herald letter from Ayrshire reader on the legal concept of innocent until proven guilty”.

Here’s the letter:

Thursday 30 October 2014

RSPB has its own agenda

DUNCAN Orr-Ewing, Head of Species and Land Management for RSPB Scotland, does not let the facts get in the way of his argument (Letters, October 29).

I would remind Mr Orr-Ewing that he stated in this very journal that a crime had been committed with the poisoning of raptors on the Black Isle and he then proceeded to promote his agenda against gamekeepers and shooting estates. Police Scotland has stated that no crime was committed, but that has not stopped RSPB advocating regulation which would allow it to attempt to criminalise legal businesses.

Rather than being a positive, the involvement of RSPB in police investigations creates a massive question about impartiality. This underlines the danger of allowing bodies with their own agendas to be involved in criminal investigations. They appear willing to ignore the fact that in this country we are all innocent until proven guilty.

David Stubley,

22 Templeton Crescent, Prestwick.

So Mr Stubley thinks that the Ross-shire Massacre was not a crime. This is precisely why Police Scotland should never have issued their press statement. Although their press statement did say: “The criminal investigation into their deaths is still ongoing”, those seeking to diminish this crime as something ‘accidental’ have been given the perfect fodder to perpetuate their ignorant claims which many average members of the public will likely believe.

As for the SGA re-tweeting this letter, with no mention that the Ross-shire Massacre was indeed a crime, well that speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

Mr Stubley is no stranger to muddying the water about the Ross-shire Massacre. In May he wrote another letter to the Herald about this crime:

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Falling prey to an accident?

I NOTE that immediately after the discovery of several dead raptors on the Black Isle many people jumped to the conclusion that they had been poisoned by a gamekeeper, even though there was not a shred of evidence to back up this assumption.

Several weeks later and despite a large reward being offered no-one has been charged. I have a suggestion for a possible cause of the poisoning.

Those responsible for the reintro­duction of red kites and other birds set up feeding sites where the birds know they will be fed and therefore congregate in large numbers. The birds are fed on agricultural beasts which have been killed, roadkill or, during the shooting season, gamebirds which cannot be sold. Could one of those food sources have been exposed to poison by accident? This would surely explain the concentration of dead birds and the lack of anyone to blame.

David Stubley,

22 Templeton Crescent, Prestwick.

We wonder if Mr Stubley is a member of the SGA? Just sayin’……

Police Scotland’s media strategy about this high profile crime has been appalling. They complained yesterday during the RACCE Committee hearing that media speculation hadn’t been helpful. They could easily have alleviated that speculation by publishing clear, timely and precise information about this crime, without jeopardising their criminal investigation.

More on this shortly.


7 Responses to “Ross-shire Massacre: Police Scotland, see what you’ve done?”

  1. 1 Dave
    October 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Mr Stubley is wrong on at least two points. (i) A crime has been committed, the question of guilt or innocence of that is for a court to decide. (ii) Police Scotland did not say no crime had been committed, only that the raptors had not been deliberately targeted.

  2. 2 Anand Prasad
    October 30, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I think bog roll is still cheaper than ‘The Herald’.

  3. 3 me
    October 30, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Sorry,but had to have a wee laugh at Mr Stubley’s comments in particular ” beasts which have been killed” I cant picture the RSBP staff feeding live sheep,pigs,cattle etc to the Raptors and “road kill” Do they have staff driving round the area picking up dead animals from the side of the road or do members of the public hand it in.Also “game birds cannot be sold” Sorry but does he not mean shooting fodder which cant fit into the Estates ovens/pots because there full.
    The Raptors were killed by a “banned” substance.Only an idiot would purchase a banned substance and be able to store it and use it without themselves or others in their group being affected by it.So it seems to me that someone knew what they were doing.Idiot.

  4. 5 Jimmy
    October 30, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    The RSPB need to issue a statement on this matter and set the record straight, including calling on police Scotland to correct their recent idiotic statement on the matter

  5. October 31, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    I would also take issue with “gamebirds which cannot be sold” used as feed at kite feeding station. Presumably shot, maybe surplus or maybe too damaged. In either case they would be unsuitable as they would be highly likely to cause lead poisoning to the kites. Only a fool feeds lead contaminated meat to a raptor.

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