Two years and £50,000 later, ordeal of policeman who put dying cat out of its misery is finally over.

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Two years and £50,000 later, ordeal of policeman who put dying cat out of its misery is finally over.

Post  Admin on Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:38 am


A policeman who put an injured cat out of its misery after it had been run over was dragged through the courts by the RSPCA in a case that has cost £50,000.


After two years and eight hearings, the case against Pc Jonathan Bell was thrown out by the High Court. Pc Bell's supporters accuse the RSPCA of harassment and say the constable has been "to hell and back". He spent a month off work with stress as the legal process ground on.


The officer's ordeal began when he was called to a night-time disturbance in Stoke-on-Trent, in April 2004. Residents showed him a cat that had been run over by a car. It was still alive but badly injured.


The constable, 36, called his control room and was told that there was no legal duty on the police to call out a vet, and that the RSPCA could not be contacted at that hour. After consulting with colleagues, he borrowed a spade and killed the cat with a blow to the head, striking three further blows to make sure it was dead.


A passer-by reported him to the RSPCA, which launched a prosecution. The cat's owner was never traced.


A two-day hearing scheduled for last June was postponed at the last minute when an RSPCA vet was called away to an emergency involving a bird.

Pc Bell, who is married with two children, was acquitted when the trial eventually went ahead last September. District Judge Graham Richards told him: "You did what you honestly thought best. You walk out of here without a stain on your character."

Yet despite the judge's words, the RSPCA carried on pursuing the case until, at the High Court last month, Mr Justice Bean refused leave to appeal.

A BBC Radio Five Live investigation into the case, to be broadcast this morning, raises questions about the standard of the RSPCA's prosecutions. It comes as Parliament considers the Animal Welfare Bill, which would allow the charity to pursue more than 100 extra cases per year.

Pc Bell, speaking after the September hearing, said he had "no regrets" about how he dealt with the cat. He said: "I am happy I killed it with the first blow. I made up my mind that I would hit it a number of times to make sure it was dead. I made the decision on what I had in front of me. I looked at the cat and I could see it was completely crushed at the back. I looked at it for between three and five minutes. I decided to put it out of its misery when I realised I was not going to get help from anywhere else."

Mark Judson, the chairman of the Staffordshire Police Federation, said: "He's been to hell and back. He thought he was doing his duty as a policeman in a difficult situation, and he had to make a judgement call, and he's been made to pay for it."

Colin Vogel, a vet called to give evidence in the trial as an independent expert witness, said the cat had been squashed to within an inch thick at its lower half. "He did the kindest thing, which was to put it out of its misery, whereas if he'd just walked away leaving it injured he could have just as easily faced a charge of animal cruelty."

The RSPCA, funded by voluntary donations, estimated its costs at £12,000. Pc Bell was partially funded by Legal Aid and his bill reached £7,500. Legal experts estimated court costs at £20,000 and the cost to the police, which put up four officers as defence witnesses, at £10,000.

The failed case drew criticism of the RSPCA from others in the animal welfare field. Chris Newman, the chairman of the Federation of Companion Animal Societies, said: "Some of their prosecutions seem to have a political agenda and are about proving a point rather than protecting animal welfare."

The RSPCA rejected the accusation and defended the way in which it pursued Pc Bell's case. A spokesman said: "The RSPCA prosecuted this man following complaints from witnesses to the killing and we maintain that this case was in the public interest."
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£50,000 LATER..

Post  Trilby Bee on Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:05 pm

There may be no legal duty to call out a vet, but an out of hours vet would have been cheaper than the scandalous amount of money wasted once again by our friends. But of course the PC was probably not familiar with RSPCA tactics and hence was not to know how the situation would pan out.

You wonder why this was not thrown out straight away and I have often thought, seriously,  that the RSPCA must ''bung'' someone a few quid. Brown envelopes and all that.I do remember thinking when I was in court with the bastards that the magistrates seemed far more kindly disposed to the RSPCA solicitors than they were to mine. When they spoke to mine, or about them, they seemed to be somewhat contemptuous, whereas they seemed to hold the RSPCA lawyers in high regard...just saying......
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'Yet despite the judge's words, RSPCA continued pursuing the case'  tells you everything about the way they carry out their prosecutions. Money to burn...they get it given so what the hell, waste it.The get away with it time and time again, and the only good thing is that the more people who once supported them read things like this, the more supporters they will lose.
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