DERBYSHIRE GAMEKEEPER LOSES APPEAL- An Expensive Lesson.

A Derbyshire gamekeeper, working on an estate within the Peak District National Park, has lost an appeal today [singlepic id=291 w=118 h=118 float=right] (Tuesday 24 January 2012) against a previous conviction and sentence on seven charges relating to the illegal use of a trap baited with a live pigeon in order to take birds of prey, the intentional taking of a sparrowhawk and a number of animal welfare offences.

[singlepic id=449 w=149 h=270 float=left] Glenn Brown was originally convicted of seven offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Animal Welfare Act 2006 in June, 2011 at Chesterfield Magistrates Court. He was originally sentenced to 100 hours community service and he had been ordered to pay £10,000 costs.

At a lengthy hearing at Derby Crown Court – which began on 3rd January – Brown’s defence brought a blistering attack against the integrity of the RSPB, claiming evidence had been planted to incriminate Brown.

Judge Watson today dismissed the appeal commenting that all the RSPB staff were credible witnesses. Brown was ordered to pay a further £7,000 costs on top of the £10,000 he was ordered to pay at his original trial last year. Estimates place Brown’s overall legal bill at £100,000.

Martin Harper is the RSPB’s conservation director. He said: “We are delighted, but not surprised that the integrity and honesty of our investigations officers has been found to be beyond reproach after coming under forensic examination in this case.”

Brown was originally arrested by Derbyshire Police in May 2010, following a covert surveillance operation by an RSPB investigations team. RSPB officers filmed Brown using a cage trap baited with a live domestic pigeon. Although cage traps are legal when trying to trap some species, such as carrion crows, it is illegal both to use a pigeon as bait and to capture birds of prey.

Mark Thomas is an investigations officer with the RSPB. Commenting from Derby Crown Court, he said: “With so much evidence, convicting Brown during the first trial, we are stunned that his defence felt comfortable mounting an appeal suggesting the RSPB had framed him.

“Bird of prey persecution remains a top wildlife crime priority in the UK, and it is one that we are determined to help the police reduce. The problem remains particularly severe in upland areas dominated by grouse shooting, where crimes have a direct impact on the conservation of some of our rarest birds of prey.

“With his appeal failing, Brown will now have to face the consequences for his crimes. Since 1990 there have been over 100 gamekeepers convicted of crimes relating to the despicable persecution of birds of prey.”

Martin Harper added: “Crimes such as these illustrate links between driven-grouse shooting and the illegal killing of birds of prey. This is why industry leaders and employers need to do more to stamp out these crimes. We believe that land managers and owners should be held legally accountable for any wildlife crimes that are committed by their staff, as is the case in Scotland.”

The Law Commission should give serious consideration to including vicarious liability in their legislative reform for England and Wales. A petition calling for vicarious liability can be found at:

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/23089

Many people have become increasingly concerned about the poor breeding success of birds of prey in the dark peak region of the Peak District National Park. In 2006, the RSPB produced a report Peak Malpractice, which graphically outlined its concerns in relation to goshawks and peregrines on the north-east Peak moors. Since then, the breeding success of both species has collapsed in the adjacent Derwent Valley, prompting the undercover investigation leading to this court case.

The RSPB would like to thank the Derbyshire Constabulary, the Crown Prosecution Service and the expert witnesses in the case.

ends

7 comments to DERBYSHIRE GAMEKEEPER LOSES APPEAL- An Expensive Lesson.

  • Terry Pickford, North West Raptor Protection Group

    On behalf of each member of the North West Raptor Protection Group I thank the RSPB, in particular their investigation team for a job well done. We should also not forget the work undertaken by the Derbyshire Constabulary and the CPS in bringing this important case to a well justified conclusion. I was particularly please to see that the RSPB have enclosed details of the (Vicarious Liability) e-petition in their Press Release…lets just hope now that RSPB members and the Media get behind this important petition.

    It will be interesting to see who pays Brown’s court costs and if the National Trust offer the shooting rights back to Brown’s employer.

  • nirofo

    I would like to think that this could be a turning point in the way wildlife crime cases are handled by the courts. There will be plenty more wildlife persecution cases ending up in court judging by the number of “ROGUE unprofessional” gamekeepers still at it, unfortunately we can’t rely on any meaningfull sentencing being meted out to these criminals. Lets hope they all have to pay costs as high as they were in this case.

    Well done RSPB, now lets hope his employer doesn’t get his shooting rights back from the National Trust. Can’t think why they were given shooting rights on National Trust ground in the first place.

    Editors Comment, Sir Simon Jenkins may have played a part in the issue of the shooting rights.

  • Mike Price

    I would like to know if the shooting rights will be retained, I had heard that they would or could be revoked if the appeal was unsuccessful. If there is such a clause in the contract then it should rightly be revoked.

  • John Law

    Until the landowners themselves are prosecuted there will be no change. This oaf will have his fine paid for him and the prosecution will be a badge of honour for him; much like an ASBO for a thug.

    Change the law NOW!

  • Judge Watson, I among many salute you, perhaps all raptor persecutors should be judged by you. I would also like to congratulate the RSPB officers for a job well done and like Terry was pleased to see the mention of the Vicarious Liability e-petition, could I please ask the RSPB to get their members to support it so that we can ensure that it gets a hearing in parliament.

  • A big well done to the RSPB. To act as a deterrent there’s got to be an awful lot more convictions.

  • paul williams

    Keith Brockie

    Convicted gamekeeper Glenn Brown was a member of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation

    Well finally, the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation has responded to one of the many emails we know were sent to them asking whether convicted gamekeeper Glenn Brown was one of their members (saying Glenn Brown resigned from the NGO… Why did the NGO have to wait for him the resign we wonder?