The RSPCA comes under scrutiny.

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The RSPCA comes under scrutiny.

Post  Admin on Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:29 pm

J a m i e F os t e r , Partner
at Clarke Willmott LLP,
reports on the ongoing
review of the RSPCA’s
prosecutions policy.



In December last year
the RSPCA announced that
it had employed a former
Chief Inspector of the Crown
Prosecution Service, Stephen
Wooler, to carry out a full review of the
Society’s controversial prosecutions policy.
This was an extraordinary step by the
RSPCA, which has always maintained
that its prosecutions were brought on
an identical basis to those brought by
the Crown Prosecution Service and were
above reproach. The fact the review is
taking place at all is a huge compliment to
the Countryside Alliance and in particular
to Tim Bonner and his team who have
done a fantastic job of highlighting the
inequities that have dogged the RSPCA.
The hunting world may have formed
the view that the RSPCA went off the
rails when it decided to spend £327,000
prosecuting the Heythrop, but the
problems with RSPCA prosecutions are
much older than that. There are two
essential aspects to the issue, as Mr Wooler
is likely to discover. First, as a campaigning
charity, the RSPCA does not have a
sufficiently objective position to be able to
decide whether a criminal prosecution is
in the public interest. Second, the RSPCA
has, for a long time now, had people
with an animal rights agenda making
important decisions on its behalf.
The problem with this is that it tends
to create the opportunity for what we
lawyers call ‘noble cause corruption’.
This arises when investigators
and prosecutors believe that the moral
of what they are trying to achieve
allows them to ignore proper procedures.
There are many examples of this for Mr
Wooler to examine. For example, the
RSPCA’s practice of issuing ‘improvement
notices’. These are made-up notices
that have no legal effect but ape proper
improvement notices issued under the
Animal Welfare Act. Courts have told the
RSPCA that these notices can be an abuse
of the process of criminal trials but the
Society carries on issuing them regardless.
Improper prosecutions
It has been well publicised that this
zeal has led to numerous prosecutions,
involving elderly people, children and
mentally ill people, that no prosecutor
properly applying the public interest
test would ever have brought. I have
provided examples of cases in this
category to Mr Wooler, as have others.
The RSPCA has become responsible
for the prosecution of animal welfare
offences in this country to the extent that
it is now our second largest prosecutor.
This raises practical difficulties if Mr
Wooler recommends that the RSPCA cease
prosecuting and adopt the RSPB or NSPCC
model of trusting the Crown Prosecution
Service as a public prosecutor. Many of
the RSPCA’s fanatical supporters scream
that if the RSPCA didn’t prosecute, nobody
would – this isn’t true. The CPS can deal
with animal offences in the same way it
deals with other offences, but the sheer
number of cases that would land on its
desk if the RSPCA were to give up would
require serious planning and resources.
It will be fascinating to see what Mr
Wooler recommends. I do not envy his
task. He will have enormous pressure
on him from the animal rights lobby
not to suggest any changes as their
interests are not affected by whether a
prosecution is fair or not. Despite this, I
think any report he produced that gave
the RSPCA a clean bill of health would
lack credibility. Whatever he suggests,
the situation of a charity acting as a
quasi state prosecutor with no proper
oversight or accountability cannot be
allowed to continue.
While we wait to see the outcome of
Mr Wooler’s review, may I invite you to
look at an e-petition that I have started
that deals with a related issue. It can be
found at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
uk/petitions/59679. If you are minded
to, please sign it. It is time that a lot of
the excesses of the animal rights brigade
were stopped and maybe the review
and this petition are steps in the right
direction. Only time will tell.


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RSPCA Under Scrutiny

Post  Trilby Bee on Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:50 pm

Have clicked on the link and for some reason it is not opening for me...not sure why... can anyone advise please?

Totally agree that SW must have one hell of a job on his hands...was amazed to hear a couple of days ago (I think from Candcane) that he (SW) is nearing the end of his task. I know for a fact how much he received just from millie and from me...and there are/must be many other victims who must be contributing to his review. I had rather imagined that the results of this review would be much delayed owing to the sheer volume of info that victims sent him. It is, of course, possible, that many people were afraid to 'go public'. I can relate to that. I look forward to the results.
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Re: The RSPCA comes under scrutiny.

Post  Admin on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:56 pm

Trilby Bee wrote:Have clicked on the link and for some reason it is not opening for me...not sure why... can anyone advise please?

Totally agree that SW must have one hell of a job on his hands...was amazed to hear a couple of days ago (I think from Candcane) that he (SW) is nearing the end of his task. I know for a fact how much he received just from millie and from me...and there are/must be many other victims who must be contributing to his review. I had rather imagined that the results of this review would be much delayed owing to the sheer volume of info that victims sent him. It is, of course, possible, that many people were afraid to 'go public'. I can relate to that. I look forward to the results.
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Re: The RSPCA comes under scrutiny.

Post  Admin on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:57 pm

Admin wrote:
Trilby Bee wrote:Have clicked on the link and for some reason it is not opening for me...not sure why... can anyone advise please?

Totally agree that SW must have one hell of a job on his hands...was amazed to hear a couple of days ago (I think from Candcane) that he (SW) is nearing the end of his task. I know for a fact how much he received just from millie and from me...and there are/must be many other victims who must be contributing to his review. I had rather imagined that the results of this review would be much delayed owing to the sheer volume of info that victims sent him. It is, of course, possible, that many people were afraid to 'go public'. I can relate to that. I look forward to the results.
There you are T.  Very Happy 
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