Parliamentary question re Crown’s decision to drop wildlife crime prosecutions

The issue of the Crown Office’s questionable decisions to drop five wildlife crime prosecutions in recent months is not going away.

Mark Ruskell MSP (Scottish Greens) has now lodged the following Parliamentary Question:

The answer given by the Lord Advocate to the earlier question to which Mark refers is this:

It’s an interesting question from Mark and we look forward to seeing the answer in due course. Will there be an opportunity to ask for a review of the Crown’s decision to drop any or all five of these cases?

25 March 2017 – gamekeeper John Charles Goodenough (Dalreoch Estates), accused of the alleged use of illegal gin traps. Prosecution dropped due to paperwork blunder by Crown Office.

11 April 2017 – landowner Andrew Duncan (Newlands Estate), accused of being allegedly vicariously liable for the actions of his gamekeeper who had earlier been convicted for killing a buzzard by stamping on it and dropping rocks on to it. Prosecution dropped due to ‘not being in the public interest’.

21 April 2017 – gamekeeper Stanley Gordon (Cabrach Estate), accused of the alleged shooting of a hen harrier. Prosecution dropped as video evidence deemed inadmissible.

25 April 2017 – gamekeeper Craig Graham (Brewlands Estate), accused of allegedly setting and re-setting an illegal pole trap. Prosecution dropped as video evidence deemed inadmissible.

21 May 2017 – an unnamed 66 year old gamekeeper (Edradynate Estate), suspected of alleged involvement with the poisoning of three buzzards. Crown Office refused to prosecute, despite a plea to do so by Police Scotland.

Well done, Mark Ruskell. Good to see there are some decent politicians willing to hold the authorities to account.

3 Responses to “Parliamentary question re Crown’s decision to drop wildlife crime prosecutions”

  1. 1 Iain Gibson
    June 29, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    As the “victims” can’t speak English, and the courts could not supply a suitable translator, sounds as if they have no chance.

  2. 2 Greer Hart, senior
    June 29, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    I have made a point of phoning the office and sending emails, to those of our politicians, who have taken a stance on some issue of animal welfare, or the conservation of wild species. Today, I emailed Christine Grahame on her resolute support in the tail-docking, stink pit/gamekeeper middens, and wild animals in circuses, issues that come up this month at Holyrood. Also, Mark Ruskell was similarly congratulated for his support. My own MSP was praised for his support on stink pits, but a let me down on tail-docking, on which he sent me a prepared statement from his party, about why it had joined with the Conservatives in changing the law. Are we now to look forward to other areas of our system of law and order, seeing ameliorating adjustments for the benefit of those groups with a potential to break the law if thwarted, on animal welfare and conservation matters.

    The Crown Office and Prosecution Service, along with the Judiciary, do not have a very good reputation among those of our society, who seek a more honest and straight forward of enforcement of our laws. The case under review, that of the evidence adduced for the prosecution in five cases of wildlife crime, not being enough to warrant trials, is a disgrace and a sign of gross arrogance, in support of activities that are held as vile and against the humane values of the majority of our Scottish population. It is redolent of the Middle Ages, when the aristocracy and its law enforcement system, would deny those seeking food from the wild in times of hunger. Its counterpart today, is not as extreme in its punishments, but there is an unpleasant hangover from those times, in the form of a powerful influence, that can render COPS, and any other agent of law and order, unresponsive to go through the procedures necessary to test evidence in court, as should be done. It is my hope that such intransigence, stimulates more of our politicians to ask more pertinent questions, with an unrelenting persistence that could at last bring and end to this period of constipation in breaches of our wildlife protection laws, even if that persistence has to last as long as the Hillsborough disaster took to achieve justice, and to ferret out those who have acted as agents for the criminals avoiding justice. Thank Heavens the Labour Party has stalwartly stood its ground, and acted in favour of saving animals from suffering and persecution. The Scottish Conservatives behaved as expected, and showed themselves to be the party of support for blood sports. All who are committed to saving our Birds of Prey and other wildlife, should continue to contact sympathetic politicians, when they bring such issues to public attention.

  3. 3 Tony Warburton MBE
    June 29, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, and thank you so much Mark. Nice to know there are some MP’s with balls! Whoops, sorry Elaine Smith!!! You are a good-un too.

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