Aquitted after Local Authority staff alter witness statements.

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Aquitted after Local Authority staff alter witness statements.

Post  Admin on Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:55 pm

This case is an older case but it still brings to light the wrong doings of the RSPCA and their partners. Admin.

Mr Stuart Wood, a pet shop owner of Harrow had charges brought against him by the London Borough of Harrow Trading Standards, that he was purporting to sell dogs that did not accord with their pedigree and that as a result, members of the public were being induced to purchase such animals.

The defendant appeared at Harrow Crown Court on the 17th & 18th June 2013 facing 6 charges that he was selling dogs that didn’t accord with their pedigree and this acted as an inducement to purchase.

The defendant maintained throughout that the dogs were sold with a 3 generation pedigree history and as far as he believed, the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were of the same breed. It was clear to all concerned that he was not the breeder and that for the information relating to the authenticity of the pedigree, he relied implicitly upon the breeder.

The additional service he provided for a sum of £12, which was not paid to him direct, but to the Canine Registration Club to receive a document showing the 3 generation pedigree, but again, no representations were being made as to its accuracy.

It was accepted by all parties that at no time did the defendant or his staff make representation that these were Kennel Club registered dogs.

It was quite clear to the Solicitors, Nigel Weller & Co, who were defending, that the statement provided by the prosecution and upon which the prosecution was based, had clearly been either altered or prepared by one of the Local Authority officers involved in the prosecution.

Notwithstanding the disclosure process, it was not until the Friday before the trial, that the defence were able to see a whole series of emails, which clearly show that an employee of the London Borough of Harrow had not only drafted, but made significant amendments to witness statements, which directly related to the offences.

It is a basic principal of English Criminal Law that a witness should give his own evidence, totally independently to any influence, threat or favour by a 3rd party. Most importantly of all, witnesses of fact (which this employee was) should not be given the opportunity to even discuss their evidence, let alone play a part in the taking of those statements and/or drafting them.

An order for defence costs was made in Mr Wood’s favour as well as travel costs incurred.

The Judge, Mr Recorder Derek Scholfield after hearing representations form Miss Sara-Lise Howe of Westgate Chambers, Counsel for Mr Wood remarked that on the evidence that he has heard and read, that this was a proper decision by the London Borough of Harrow to offer no evidence and he added that their officers involved in such investigations could do with more training, indicating the lack of knowledge of basic principles of an investigators duties & powers.

Then question should now be asked to those who are responsible for enforcement at the London Borough of Harrow as to why such a large sum of costs payable by the local Council Tax payers, should be spent on a tainted prosecution, that was bound to fail and has exposed the failings and quality of those persons who are entrusted with the onerous responsibility of prosecuting matters both fairly and properly.

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