RSPCA risks losing power to prosecute.

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RSPCA risks losing power to prosecute.

Post  Admin on Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:15 pm

Independent reviewer considers stripping charity of its right to prosecute following string of controversial court cases.




The RSPCA’s role in prosecuting cases of animal cruelty could be overhauled to restore public confidence.


Stephen Wooler, a former HM chief inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service, suggested the charity could be stripped of its prosecution rights because of increasing concern over its approach. Another option was for it to be scrutinised by an independent watchdog, he said.


Campaigners have long complained that the RSPCA can both investigate and prosecute cases, while also campaigning to raise money.


They have suggested that because the charity often levies large costs in the cases it wins, some people plead guilty because they fear contesting a charge and losing.


The RSPCA was criticised for bringing a £326,000 private prosecution against the Heythrop hunt in David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency at the end of 2012. A judge said the costs, some of which went on external lawyers, were “staggering”.
The Heythrop pleaded guilty to hunting a wild fox with dogs, claiming it could not afford to fight the charges. A former huntsman and hunt master also pleaded guilty to the same charges.

Mr Wooler was appointed by the RSPCA’s trustees late last year to carry out a £50,000 review of its role as the major prosecutor in cases involving animal cruelty.

In his first interview since then, Mr Wooler stressed that he had not yet reached any conclusions, but he conceded that one option was to strip the charity of its right to prosecute cases.

Asked if the RSPCA could lose this role, as well as that of investigator, he said: “There would have to be some very careful discussions if one got to that position.

“But bearing in mind there is no obvious alternative, the main issue … is what needs to be done to make it work better.”

He added: “One of the things I want to find out is what would happen if the RSPCA did not do those functions. It is all well and good throwing the baby out with the bath water, but you have to put something in its place.”

Mr Wooler said one possibility was to limit the court costs the RSPCA could charge, and he said he would look at the costs of its prosecutions “to see if they are reasonable and proportionate”.

He said he would examine the charity’s approach to prosecutions, from those against fox hunts to those against elderly spinsters who cannot look after their pets.

He claimed that concern about the charity’s activities was so widespread that there was a “self-help group” on the internet “of people who have had involvement with the RSPCA”.

Mr Wooler said he would be examining criticism from hunts as well as “from small animal sanctuaries who sometimes feel targeted [and] ordinary individuals who have companion animals”.

He added that he would be holding meetings with Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, senior police officers and councils to see if the charity needed to be subject to an independent regulator. At present, the RSPCA acts as a private prosecutor. Any new supervision would help to increase accountability.

Mr Wooler said: “The idea I would want to look at is what does the RSPCA need to do, specifically in relation to its prosecution role, to get public confidence restored to what it used to be?

“The RSPCA trustees are quite puzzled [by the controversy]. They are looking … to see what the RSPCA should be doing in order for there to be that confidence that criticism suggests isn’t there at the moment.”

Mr Wooler invited submissions from anybody concerned about the charity’s policy.

“The RSPCA has given me a very free hand to look at the whole issue widely,” he said. “What I want to do is to find the best way forward … I will look very carefully at what people have to say.”

Ray Goodfellow, the RSPCA’s chief legal officer, said: “We strive to be a reasonable and fair-minded prosecutor and this independent review will provide an effective external measure of our performance and highlight any areas of potential improvement.

“We are committed to providing accountability and transparency in this very important area of our work which we recognise has a considerable impact on people’s lives, as well as for the animals we seek to protect. We will publish findings from the review when it is complete.”

* Anyone wishing to contribute to the review should email [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. The deadline is February 28.
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RSPCA Risks Losing Power To Prosecute

Post  Trilby Bee on Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:34 pm

Things are moving in the right direction! Will all past victims then be able to come forward like they have done in all the historic sex abuse cases and get their money back? And compensation for the animals they have had stolen and killed? And a new car for the one they destroyed  (or at least repay the insurance company who had to pay me out).
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Re: RSPCA risks losing power to prosecute.

Post  Admin on Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:45 pm

As you say T, definitely a step in the right direction.
It won`t help those that have gone before but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Very Happy 
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RSPCA Risks Losing Power To Prosecute

Post  Trilby Bee on Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:55 am

...and how very handy that they give us an email address which some of us can contact and give details of our experiences.  Very Happy 
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Are we going to write to him?

Post  millie1* on Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:33 pm

Hi all - those who have previous with the RSPCA and those currently in their own battles - are we all going to write to him????
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Before writing....

Post  millie1* on Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:36 pm

Has anyone checked this email address out - it seems a pretty generic and anonymous one that any tom dick or harry could have set up incl RSPCA. I have several email addresses which dont give away my identity for a reason and it just makes me rather suspicious.
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Link to full page

Post  millie1* on Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:52 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

My concern is that this is on the RSPCA website, you can click on the link to fill in consultation page, there is also an address to write to and a phone number, might call and see just how independent he seems!

What do you think guys?
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I'n Definitely Up For It

Post  Trilby Bee on Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:47 pm

'The RSPCA has no access to any submissions made and all responses will be treated as confidential by the Independent Reviewer.'

'Privacy statement. With respect to consultation responses, the data controller is the independent
reviewer. Consultation responses, whether in written or electronic form, are not shared
with the RSPCA or any other person.'


They are saying R$PCA won't get their grubby hands on our details, can we trust them as millie says?

It certainly is close to home millie but I think it's kosher...if my case were still on-going I would possibly hesitate to do it, unless I had been advised by my solicitor that I hadn't a cat in hell's chance of winning. But I would like them to hear as much as possible about the way these people carry on. I feel I have nothing to lose and if they hear similar stories from enough people it might help. I'm definitely going to send them my experiences. Will PM moonstone and get her to do the same.
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Re: RSPCA risks losing power to prosecute.

Post  misty02 on Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:10 am

If I can set up an email address that doesn't give away my id I will send them my experience with the evil ones.
What I still can't understand is that I didn't receive a ban but those vindictive bastards requested a deprivation order on my horses which they were granted. So I can have another horse but not the ones I had for over 20 years.

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Re: RSPCA risks losing power to prosecute.

Post  Trilby Bee on Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:51 am

Misty...I find it really odd that you received no ban but they agreed that the horses should stay with the Gestapo. Was this a judge or magistrate? Because to be honest, magistrates have no legal training whatsoever, maybe they were novices...who knows? Did you appeal? I think you should send a few lines for Mr Wooler and say this is the sort of thing that can happen and does. In addition to moving horses without passports, trespassing without a warrant and taking animals which World Horse Welfare later describe on their statements as 'the mare was grazing quietly and looked bright and alert' - so not collapsed in a starving heap then? Add to this the Gestapo lying on their statements, but when it is pointed out in court that their version of events is totally different from WHW's version, so someone has 'made a mistake', someone comes and writes off your car two days later. And when you wonder how they knew your car details, having deliberately NOT used it to court, you learn they regularly pay £35 (donated money) a go to snoop into police databases. I imagine they do this to dig up and use any dirt about you that could potentially strengthen their case. Call me suspicious...who, me?
Misty, did your solicitor not think it odd and contradictory that Mafia kept your horses but you got no ban? Did he/she not question this? Altho' I know mine was utter crap, Legal Aid, get what you pay for.
It does seem ridiculous that you can go out and buy another horse, but cannot keep the ones you cared for for many years. For several years I used to get up at 4 am to drive 17 miles each way to feed mine and then get home, get changed and get to work 25 miles away by 8.30. Yet there were people at my yard who would not bother to show on a weekday, especially ifit was cold, snowing etc, knowing that three of us were doing all the work, putting out haylage, breaking the ice on the water trough etc, cleaning the fields.
Oh yes, how I would whoop with glee if they stripped them of their prosecuting powers. If they get enough complaints they might do something about their behaviour!! Very Happy
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Re: RSPCA risks losing power to prosecute.

Post  misty02 on Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:01 pm

These were magistrates. They told me when they gave their verdict that it all hinged on who they believed was telling the truth and they decided I had told a pack of lies. My solicitor advised me not to appeal. Firstly because of the cost and secondly said don't risk losing again then being banned.
I can honestly say that there have been many times when I wished I could just go to sleep and never wake up. Then one day I decided I wouldn't give them the satisfaction but instead will do all I can to bring them down.

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Re: RSPCA risks losing power to prosecute.

Post  Trilby Bee on Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:52 am

Well, we all know the RSPCA don't lie don't we? They are constantly boasting bout how they win so many of their cases...but it's only because they have the money and their so-called inspectors have six weeks' training in lying... Gavin Grant said that they 'only' spend 5% of their income on prosecutions. This is still almost £6 million...ONLY 5%? Dear God. The smaller caring charities would give their right arm for a tenth of that.
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Independent Review

Post  millie1* on Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:22 pm

If you use the option to register an interest in the consultation process - as shown on the link I posted - you have to complete your name and address.........so much for remaining anonymous.....if you just send an email to the address shown outlining your experience, I dont know who will read it and if you dont give yourself away how can they compare the case on the RSPCA side????

Has anyone tried to call the number issued or checked it out????

Misty - if you want to set up an anonymous email pm me and I will tell you how!

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'Independent' Review

Post  Trilby Bee on Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:45 am

An anonymous email is one thing but like you say millie, not a lot of anonymity if they have your name and home address. And the fact is, if they want names and addresses, generally speaking, the people who respond will only be the people who are on the side of RSPCA, people who get satisfaction in ringing them, vets who are well paid by them to tell lies, magistrates ditto, so the outcome of the review is going to be totally one-sided, and we know which side. People who are currently in dispute with Gestapo are not going to want to speak out against them in case it jeopardises the result of their case...people who have already been prosecuted in most cases will be loath to describe the ways in which they break the law and how they lie in case their property is vandalised by the thugs.Or, of course, in case they come back and take more animals. Not keen on the multiple-choice set up of the survey...I would prefer to write what happened, starting at the beginning, describe how they break the law with impunity and lie on their statements to get a conviction. Also list the number of elderly/vulnerable people who are targeted...and the ones they have driven to their deaths.
If there is no guarantee of anonymity, this review will not be independent, and if RSPCA can get into the police database, what's stopping them from bunging someone £35 a time to get into this?? I have nothing to lose so I'm going to do it, but if I were in court at the moment, or due to be, I'd be reluctant to do so. In that case I'd write anonymously to the address they give and hope someone reads it.
Millie, did you hear nothing more from the papers?
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Independant review

Post  millie1* on Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:02 am

Just spent some time talking to Mr Wooler of the Independent review - he has assured me that the PO box address is because he works from home and that all information will be treated with confidentiality. That said I agree there is nothing to really stop anyone accessing this - perhaps we can put a statement regarding data protection as a header???

He has asked initially for a 2 or 3 paragraph page of info from each of us - he needs sufficient info to retreive the case files from the RSPCA so needs Para 1 - name, offence accused, court location and approx date, outcome in court. Para 2 - what the RSPCA did which you think was wrong - be that lying, abuse, expensive legal team, stealing animals, use of young impressionably vets. Para 3 - what happened outside of the courtroom - ie neighbourhood abuse, publicity, illness etc.......

You will need to give him a means of contacting you if he wants more info. I would suggest also adding in some info about what you believe are failures by the other parties, ie police, magistrates, judges, 'defence' team etc. Much as we hate them its not only them but their hold on the other parts of the justice system and the weak knowledge of the law by non specialists.

I will be drafting stuff to him incl scanned images of animals in perfect body condition which accused/found guilty of inadequate feeding, scans of abusive symbols issued by RSPCA directly to me and court, plea to have inspector accused of cruelty (12 charges) removed from my other cases - ignored by HR dept of RSPCA etc.
(Think it might be more than 3 para's!)

NOTE date to submit is end of FEB. He had hoped to complete review and publish in May. He now says the amount of interest and comments he has so far received means that this is too optimistic and as such he cannot now put a date forward - perhaps the first honest response!

Good luck guys .....

T - no - not heard any more from papers or the documentary lady.......
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RSPCA Review

Post  Trilby Bee on Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:57 pm

Me too, millie, spoke to Stephen Wooler today, sounds like a regular decent guy and very approachable and am starting something today to send to him. Have told him that it might be quite long and that several of the points I really want to make are not necessarily those on the submission form; but that I would spend a couple of days putting into some sort of order so it goes thro the points they want while possibly including extra info.
Like you, I said I thought that the AWA Act was possibly being read and translated by RSPCA into a form which suited their purpose. And that the the majority of Inspectors had probably never read it. The one who I saw didn't even know it was 2006, and neither did WHW.
I was charged originally with one x s4 and one x s9 (as I only had one horse). Suddenly out of the blue they dropped the s9. Now s9 is the one where you are charged with not providing suitable diet/environment/need to express itself/need to be kept with or apart from others of its kind...etc etc. So they dropped the s9 which said she did not have a suitable diet...meaning that she did have a suitable diet, but still they hung on to their vet statement saying she was 'emaciated'. If she had a suitable diet she would not be emaciated.
AND tbh, I know for a fact that my crap solicitors had NEVER read a word of the AWA. They did not even read the many notes which I spent weeks making. I do think that SW will have made a point of familiarising himself with the Act and checking anything he is in doubt about.
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