Case against gamekeeper Stanley Gordon re shot hen harrier Part 2

scales-of-justiceCriminal proceedings continued at Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday against Scottish gamekeeper Stanley Gordon.

Mr Gordon, 60, of Cabrach, Moray, is facing charges in connection with the alleged shooting of a hen harrier in June 2013.

The case continued without plea and the next hearing will be 14th July 2016.

Previous blog on this case here



7 Responses to “Case against gamekeeper Stanley Gordon re shot hen harrier Part 2”

  1. 1 Simon Tucker
    June 17, 2016 at 11:46 am

    And so it drags on whilst the judiciary xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx. The way that wildlife crime is treated in this country is a farce: there might be a few well-meaning plod on the ground but above them the whole system is corrupt: entirely focused on not prosecuting or, if they do, giving out token punishments.

    The Allen Lambert case is just about the clearest definition of judicial corruption you can find.

    [Ed: Thanks Simon. Part of your first sentence has been removed. At this stage Mr Gordon has been charged with ALLEGED involvement. He has not yet submitted a plea so in the eyes of the law he is to be regarded as innocent until legal proceedings have concluded].

  2. 2 steve
    June 20, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Dear Mr Macsweeney

    Thank you for your email, and my apologies for the delay in replying. I am conscious of the concerns that have been expressed around the use of gas guns on some moorlands in England and we have been keen to clarify the legal position around their use.

    In doing this, we have found that their use is much wider than solely in the uplands. As a result, we have worked with Scottish Natural Heritage to develop some guidance, setting out the circumstances when permissions may be required for the deployment of gas guns. This is attached for your information.

    We are also in discussion with the grouse shooting industry, to develop some best practice principles for the use of gas guns. The aim is to provide simple advice on their deployment, and help to avoid disturbance to birds nesting on protected sites.

    I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further queries, please contact John Barrett at john.barrett@naturalengland.org.uk, and he will be happy to provide further information.

    Yours sincerely

    Alan Law

    • 3 Jack Snipe
      June 20, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      This is both feeble and ridiculous. I can think of NO circumstance that could justify the use of gas guns on a grouse moor, other than to harass Hen Harriers at traditional nesting territories. The only alternative, contrived justification the keepers have come up with is that the guns are to scare off flocks of non-breeding immature Ravens. However such flocks are few and far between and concentrated in relatively small areas. They occur on grouse moors only when vole population cycles are at their peak, suggesting that they are interested primarily in feeding on voles. I have watched such flocks on many occasions and have never seen any signs that they are preying upon grouse nests, although I suspect they may take the occasional grouse chick (later in the season of course). In fact in years when Raven flocks occur, larger numbers of young grouse are reared, but this is probably connected to the availability of an abundant food supply for foxes and other ground predators. It also appears to be the case that harriers take far fewer grouse chicks when vole numbers are high. As for scaring the Ravens, the guns are unlikely to scare them off the moor altogether, just displace them slightly. It’s farcical, but SNH and Natural England prefer to take the word of criminal gamekeepers rather than advice from proper ornithological experts. In my own experiences dealing with SNH, I find this generally to be the case.

  3. 4 Tony Warburton MBE
    June 22, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Pathetic – as usual from SNH and Natural England, and once again a ghostly silence from the RSPB. No wonder raptor persecution carries on regardless.

  4. 5 Jack Snipe
    June 23, 2016 at 2:48 am

    I can point to another reason why not only is it unnecessary to kill crows on grouse moors, but it is actually beneficial to leave them alone. One argument used by grouse moor managers is that burning of heather is essential to control heather beetles. My own observations suggest very positively that large flocks of non-breeding Ravens and Carrion Crows are drawn to the moors either when vole populations are high, and/or there has been a large scale outbreak of heather beetle. So effectively the gamekeepers are removing the predators which help to control heather beetle, which can cause widespread wastage and die back of the heather. As is often the case, the situation is slightly more complicated than superficial observations suggest, and the keepers’ reasoning is shattered by the fact that heather beetles can be an important food item for Red Grouse!

  5. 6 Brian Arneill
    September 6, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    More sad news from a stronghold of highland sporting estates where respect for biodiversity remains threatened by tradition.

    [Ed: important to wait to hear the court’s verdict of innocence or guilt in this case]

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