Back in August we blogged (here) about a vicarious liability prosecution against Andrew Walter Bryce Duncan of Newlands Estate, Dumfriesshire.
The prosecution against Mr Duncan began after the conviction in August of Newlands Estate gamekeeper William (Billy) Dick, who was found guilty of illegally killing a buzzard by striking it with rocks and repeatedly stamping on it (see here). Dick was sentenced in September and received a £2,000 fine (here). It also emerged that the Newlands Estate was a member of Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) and an accredited member of SLE’s ‘Wildlife Estates Scotland’ initiative (see here).
The vicarious liability prosecution against Duncan continued last week with an intermediate diet at Dumfries Sheriff Court. Prior to that hearing, a provisional trial date had been set for 23rd November 2015.
However, at last week’s hearing the provisional trial date (November) was dumped and now a notional trial diet has been set for 18th January 2016. A notional trial diet just means that a formal trial date is likely to be set at that hearing.
So why the delay in the case against Mr Duncan? It may be because the gamekeeper, Billy Dick, is rumoured to be appealing his conviction, which if upheld could impact on the allegations against Mr Duncan. Although, confusingly, a vicarious liability prosecution is not dependent on the conviction of the person who committed the primary offence, but the prosecutor must demonstrate that the primary offence took place and that the offence was committed by a third party who has a specific relationship to the person being charged with vicarious liability (see here).
Clear? As mud. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens with the gamekeeper’s appeal.