Does National Gamekeepers Org spokesman have a headmaster fetish?

headmasterFollowing on from today’s earlier blog about the dismissal of video evidence in a case against a grouse moor gamekeeper (see here), the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation has issued the following hilarious press statement:

RSPB Shamed In Court

Friday 13th Feb 2015

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation has said the the RSPB should hang its head in shame after it was revealed at Northallerton Magistrates Court on 12 February 2015 that the bird charity had provided unlawfully obtained covert surveillance evidence from a hidden camera in order to support the prosecution of a gamekeeper from North Yorkshire. The court dismissed the case after hearing legal arguments that an “abuse of process” had taken place and that the grouse keeper, who has been described as a man of “impeccable character”, could not receive a fair trial.

The case, brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, had centred on evidence that had been obtained unlawfully by the RSPB. The charges related to the quality of the water and the shelter provided for decoy birds in a cage trap during April 2014.

A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said: “The RSPB should be hanging its head in shame today after providing unlawfully obtained evidence to support the prosecution of a gamekeeper. The RSPB was so scurrilous as to plant a covert surveillance camera, and film for more than 380 hours, without the permission of the landowner, nor with any lawful justification. It’s a disgrace that the RSPB – now widely seen as a self-styled wildlife police force – should operate in this manner. The RSPB needs to get its house in order. “

He added: “It makes us wonder whether the RSPB may be out of control? The fact that this case was dismissed so swiftly is in our view perhaps indicative of the depths to which the RSPB will stoop in order to create the illusion, both for the court and for the public, of a gamekeeper being involved in wildlife crime. The RSPB is, it seems, singlehandedly destroying its own reputation and credibility by the use of covert surveillance cameras. How can anyone trust its word in the future? We hope the RSPB has now learned its lesson, its knuckles having been soundly rapped by the decision of the court. We hope it has the decency to apologise to all concerned.”

Mr Sleightholm was represented by leading country sports barrister Peter Glenser, of 9 Bedford Row, and specialist solicitor, Tim Ryan, of Warners Solicitors.

The NGO would like to remind everyone who controls birds under the General Licences of the importance of following the licences to the letter.


It sounds like the NGO’s spokesperson has got some sort of Headmaster fetish.

All quite comical, until you realise that the NGO is supposedly a partner of the RSPB on the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW). Hard to believe, isn’t it?

And let’s not forget, the NGO is the same organisation that welcomes members with poisoning-related convictions (see here).

Not to worry, it won’t be long until another member of this illustrious organisation finds himself with a conviction for wildlife crime and then we can all ask the NGO to pull down their tweeds, touch their toes and prepare for six of the best.


9 Responses to “Does National Gamekeepers Org spokesman have a headmaster fetish?”

  1. 1 Chris
    February 13, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    So this man of “impeccable character” is innocent because of an interpretation of a point of Law? He didn’t do what he was filmed doing because the video evidence was inadmissible! How stupid are we, to think truth and the law walk hand in hand……..

  2. 2 Mr Greer Hart, senior
    February 13, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    I am not well-informed enough to pass comment on the application of English Law, however, I would think that the RSPB would have had sufficient investigation of wildlife crime and bringing cases to court, to have had confidence it was acting within the law in presenting its evidence. The Crown Prosecution Service felt it had enough evidence to go to court on this issue.

    The legal representation of the accused was of the very best and must have cost a lot. The case would have been amply, and very willingly funded, by those involved in the game bird shooting industry. To lose such a prosecution would have been a long nail in the coffin of the demise of killing of birds of prey and other creatures that are classed as vermin. Do these people appreciate how much public revulsion exists of their rural sports activities? There is a hard core hunting lobby in every country, and up till now, they have had the dominant position in what can exist on the landscape, and what can be destroyed to further their lust of killing. We are seeing the wholesale slaughter of many species throughout the world by such people, and many humane individuals and organisations are fighting a great battle to conserve what they can, before the tipping point of numbers essential for survival is reached.

    I have absolutely no confidence in any political party in this country, the UK and Scotland, will ever have the bottle to take on this powerful group of blood sports characters, and really enforce the law to rid us of their menace for all time. A new generation of young people is emerging that may wish to use their political muscle to fight this humane effort of protecting our wildlife, and thereby install an invincible outlook that does not change, but becomes part of the essential ethics of saving Life on this planet, and is inculcated in our schools by a reformed education system. With such a change would have to come changes in how our countryside is policed, and whomsoever sits on the “bench” is impartial, and not part of a clique that has given us the situation which we have today. Throughout the UK, we have a revolution needed on how the landscape is be managed. Over the whole planet, mankind is staring over a precipice, a precipice over which many species are falling to be part of the geologic record that shows the Great Extinction caused by mankind. To the sneering killers of wildlife this may sound pie in the sky and over dramatic, but it is reality, and many have awakened all over the Earth as to what is happening. These are the meek who should inherit this Earth. Get rid of the RSPB and after a few years there would be few viable populations of our Birds of Prey, and indeed, of many other creatures that are classed as vermin. I am glad it is there and I give as much as I can to fund their efforts to save wildlife here and in other parts of the world. What the shooters are giving us is death with dead Elephants, Lions and other animals for trophies.

  3. 3 Circus maxima
    February 13, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Exactly…. the NGO have presumably now been able to see a recording of 380 hours of a standard of trap management which it [might have] condemned and which [might have] have led to the keeper being expelled – had the recording been deemed admissible. So NGO…. in the real world… what about the content of the recording?

    [Ed: slightly edited!]

  4. 4 Circus maxima
    February 13, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    On reflection, at the next PAWS meeting, the video should be shown and the NGO asked to leave.

  5. February 13, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    What would be really interesting is if RSPB decided to publish the video in the public domain. They couldn’t be accused of jeopardising a case because the court has ruled there isn’t a case.

    • 6 Circus maxima
      February 14, 2015 at 10:08 am

      I agree absolutely, a video of a cage trap is nothing more than a video of a cage trap.

      The point I was trying to make is that the partnership against wildlife crime is based on national bodies coming together in a spirit of trust and cooperation, working towards a common goal.

      The hard evidence that this is failing, is in the action of the NGO around this court case. This focussed not on whether or not the trap had been managed within the law- but on whether the evidence was admissible or not.

      They triumphed in [the case being dropped] regardless of the evidence that had been offered. This is not the behaviour of an organisation which is raising its standards and cleaning up its act. This is not the behaviour of an organisation that is working towards the ending of wildlife crime.

      They should have acknowledged the personal outcome of the court case, but gone on to acknowledge the content of the recording and publicly eject the member involved.

      [Ed: agree entirely. One slight edit above, in brackets]

  6. 7 Jimmy
    February 13, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    They better get used to it too when drone technology becomes common place in the near future

  7. 8 Chris Roberts
    February 13, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    The magistrate may well have been overawed by the high profile defence. Good for the RSPB for at least bringing the case to court, the outcome is more of a condemnation for the court, than the RSPB. At least the public now know something of the defendant’s work ethic!

    • 9 Fay Mathieson
      February 14, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Just a Magistrate, a pillar of the community, not necessarily someone who knows what is going on, on the moors. What is noticeable is the use of high end legal representation and giving the company details out.

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