RSPCA case thrown out due to misuse of evidence.

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RSPCA case thrown out due to misuse of evidence.

Post  Admin on Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:20 pm

By Nigel Weller.

We represented Mr S and Mrs F in a trial at which the RSPCA were found to be acting unlawfully on property. All the evidence flowing from that act (including veterinary evidence) was ruled to be unfairly obtained under section 78 of PACE 1984 and excluded. This resulted in the RSPCA having to offer no evidence.

A couple in Essex had a particular interest in a certain breed of dog. As the result of various neighbour problems, complaints were made to the local authority of excessive dog barking. There were no complaints regarding the welfare of the animal’s concerned. The local authority (Tendring District Council) applied to the Magistrate’s Court for various warrants to enter the property to inspect. They applied and were granted a warrant under the environmental protection act which was limited solely to the investigation of the excessive barking. They had applied as well, for a warrant of entry to be granted under S.23 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. There was no evidence of the welfare of the animals being compromised or their needs not being met and the magistrates quite rightly refused a warrant under that Act and therefore preventing an investigation into any animal welfare issues.

The RSPCA had become involved (we assume at the behest of the Local Authority) and notwithstanding the refusal of the animal welfare warrant, entered the property with the consent of the Local Authority (such consent could not be granted) numerous RSPCA inspectors and police officers and a veterinary surgeon entered with the usual S.18 (5) certificate being issued by the vet resulting in the seizure of all the animals present numbering some 44 number of animals. During the course of the seizure the owner of the dogs was arrested (no reason was given for her arrest, and removal from the property, preventing her from being present, when the property was searched by the RSPCA and the animals seized).

On hearing submissions by the defence on the validity of the entry and subsequent search the district judge ruled that the EPO warrant should be strictly interpreted for the purpose for which it was granted namely to investigate excessive noise especially in the light of the general animal welfare warrant being refused.

Both defendants were acquitted of 16 charges and reflects a growing awareness of the judiciary in this country of the lack of enforcement where warrants are concerned, the divisional court are concerned that not only are warrants of entry and search are granted to easily on the basis of written complaint which often do not specify the alleged offences being investigated, let alone the evidenced being relied upon for the warrant. It’s almost as if these applications are being granted without any consideration of the merits of the application.


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RSPCA Case Thrown Out Due To Misuse Of Evidence

Post  Trilby Bee on Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:54 pm

Why are we no longer surprised any more at what this lot get up to?  
And how much did this little pantomime cost, not just in terms of actual £sd but equally import, the number of wasted man hours...'numerous RSPCA', equally numerous police and a vet...then the salaries of council employees involved who could have been doing something worthwhile. The vet must have been one of their shifty private hit squad of private shyster vets whom they pay handsomely to back them up...which he/she obviously did to grab the dogs. The vets who back them up and dogs later found to be in acceptable condition should be investigated by RCVS and reprimanded...especially as they probably do it time and time again. They will then charge enormous amounts to do unnecessary tests on the animals and thereby generate more illicit income.  Evil or Very Mad 
You notice it's often a neighbour who sets the ball rolling?
I seem to recall the independent review was especially interested in how these shysters collect and use (or misuse) evidence. Let's hope this was available when SW was doing the review.
Trilby Bee

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