07
Dec
16

Vicarious liability prosecution: Andrew Duncan (Newlands Estate), part 12

Criminal proceedings continued yesterday (6 December 2016) against landowner Andrew Walter Bryce Duncan, who is alleged to be vicariously liable for the crimes committed by gamekeeper William (Billy) Dick in April 2014.

Gamekeeper Dick was convicted in August 2015 of killing a buzzard on the Newlands Estate, Dumfriesshire by striking it with rocks and repeatedly stamping on it (see here). Mr Dick was sentenced in September 2015 and was given a £2000 fine (see here). Mr Dick attempted to appeal his conviction but this was refused on 15 July 2016 (see here).

Here’s a quick review of the proceedings against Andrew Duncan so far:

Hearing #1 (18th August 2015): Trial date set for 23rd Nov 2015, with an intermediate diet scheduled for 20th Oct 2015.

Hearing #2 (20th October 2015): Case adjourned. November trial date dumped. Notional diet hearing (where a trial date may be set) scheduled for 18th January 2016.

Hearing #3 (18th January 2016): Case adjourned. Another notional diet & debate scheduled for 11th March 2016.

Hearing #4 (11th March 2016): Case adjourned, pending the result of gamekeeper Billy Dick’s appeal. Another notional diet scheduled for 4th April 2016.

Hearing #5 (4th April 2016): Case adjourned, pending the result of gamekeeper Billy Dick’s appeal. Another notional diet scheduled for 3rd June 2016.

Hearing #6 (3rd June 2016): Case adjourned, pending the result of gamekeeper Billy Dick’s appeal. Another notional diet scheduled for 17th June 2016.

Hearing #7 (17th June 2016): Case adjourned, pending the result of gamekeeper Billy Dick’s appeal. Another notional diet scheduled for 15th July 2016.

Hearing #8 (15 July 2016): Case adjourned. Another notional diet scheduled for 2 August 2016.

Hearing #9 (2 August 2016): Proceedings moved to trial. Intermediate diet scheduled for 15 November 2016 and provisional trial date set for 7/8 December 2016.

Hearing #10 (15 November 2016): The case was adjourned for another intermediate diet scheduled for 22 November 2016. Trial date of 7/8 December 2016 is dumped.

Hearing #11 (22 November 2016): The case was adjourned for yet another intermediate diet, scheduled for 6 December 2016.

Hearing #12 (6 December 2016): The case was adjourned for yet another intermediate diet, scheduled for 24 January 2017. A provisional trial date (this will be the third time a trial date has been assigned) is scheduled for 24 April 2017.

Vicarious liability in relation to the persecution of raptors in Scotland (where one person may potentially be legally responsible for the criminal actions of another person working under their supervision) came in to force nearly five years ago on 1st January 2012. To date there have been two successful prosecutions/convictions: one in December 2014 (see here) and one in December 2015 (see here).  One further case did not reach the prosecution stage due, we believe, to the difficulties associated with identifying the management structure on the estate where the crimes were committed (see here).

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6 Responses to “Vicarious liability prosecution: Andrew Duncan (Newlands Estate), part 12”


  1. 1 Alex Milne
    December 7, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I promise that I won’t die of boredom before it comes to trial….

  2. 3 Tony Warburton MBE
    December 7, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    I’m afraid I can’t make the same promise as Alex – I am 81. But as a matter of interest, are these delays and repeated ‘provisional trial dates’ a matter of course in other ‘non-bird of prey’ prosecutions, or is it just us?

    • 4 Secret Squirrel
      December 7, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Yes, pretty much standard, especially where there are complicated, new or unusual circumstances. 12 is more than normal, but I’ve had one go to 23 in the past.

      No doubt the defence is searching through vicarious liability case law. Eventually the Sheriff may get fed up and set a trial.

  3. 5 Winston Roberts
    December 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    There are usually local press reporters who report on court proceedings. I am not familiar with Dumfries Sheriff Court but it would be worth enquiring with the local paper if they have someone tracking this matter. If not, they may be interested in doing so and we would be able to find out what the reason is given for the delays.


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