Campaign to bring private prosecutions made by the RSPCA under the control of the CPS



    Posts : 13
    Join date : 2008-11-14

    RSPCA RISKY PROSECUTIONS EXPOSED Empty More than dodgy RSPCA prosecution based on downright lies

    Post  TB on Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:48 am

    The Shotton case is one of the worst examples of the RSPCA abusing the system that I have seen, this guy was prosecuted on the basis that he had left his old dog to starve to death and die, the RSPCA vet said the dog weighed only 19kg, shotton was convicted. On appeal it turned out that the RSPCA have refused to let shotton have his dog back to do a post mortem, the RSPCA said a post mortem wasnt needed.
    Based on the independant post mortem shotton got himself after the conviction by one of the UK's top animal PM bods who the RSPCA use themselves, it turned out that his dog had a heart attack, and far from weighing only 19KG actually weighed about 30kg, the normal weight for an elderley dog of this age (about 15).The RSPCA vet had lied about the weight.
    To top this off the RSPCA at shottons appeal didnt even defend the initial allegations of starvation, emaciation etc that they at claimed at the magistrates court, shotton was cleared, but only after being forced to stand down from a high profile political post he held on his local council.
    The RSPCA, and in particular the vet should have action taken against them for this abuse.

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    Join date : 2008-11-14


    Post  cuddles on Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:28 pm

    How on earth could a dead dog gain 10KG ? the vet involved in the Shottons case must have lied about the dogs weight to ensure a conviction, why did the RSPCA prosecute when then must have known about this, if I were the Shottons I would be sueing the RSPCA for malicious prosecution. Does anyone know who the vet was ?
    Public Opinion
    Public Opinion

    Posts : 16
    Join date : 2008-11-14


    Post  Public Opinion on Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:26 pm

    OVER THE past twenty years Jonathan (‘Joe’) Rich has defended well over 200 people - mainly farmers, huntsmen, kennel owners and dog breeders. In 2007, he famously and successfully defended pet shop owner Simon Gilbert three times. Joe recently acted for Paul Shotton, Labour’s former deputy Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, and his wife Annette during their successful appeal.

    He is recognised as a leading consumer specialist by all the main legal directories.
    RK: How do you think other people see you?
    JR: As with most people, it probably depends who you ask. I’d like people to think that I try my best for clients, and with a smile - no matter how successfully they have been demonised by the time of the trial. You might be surprised to learn that I have a good professional relationship with several of the RSPCA’s lawyers. One of them even asked me for a reference recently, which I was very happy to provide - and wholeheartedly recommend them. On one occasion, after my client had been given a discharge, the inspector-in-charge shook me warmly by the hand, told me that everything she’s been told about me was not true and thanked me for sorting out all the problems in the case. After another, one of the RSPCA inspectors gave me a badge!
    RK:Do you have a role model?
    JR: My father - who I think I’ve actually come to respect even more since his death than I did before. He was a gentle soul from a Quaker family. In 1939 he volunteered for the Royal Engineers - my grandmother insisted he must not fight. Frontline Stevedore, a BBC documentary, featured him and his men being dive-bombed by Stukas as they unloaded Churchill tanks for the battle of El Alamein. My grandmother was very proud. I’d like to think we still live in the liberal democracy he fought for, but sometimes I’m not so sure.
    RK:What’s the best advice you’ve ever given a client?
    JR: ‘No one wins a fight, they just lose it to different extents’ - I’ve said this several times to clients as an aid to settlement, especially in mediations. It almost always works - you can sometimes even see the scales falling from their eyes. Settlement is a medium in which people can often do more for each other than a court could ever order, but the right settlement always needs to be fought for and won.
    RK: What has been the most rewarding experience of your life so far?
    JR: A bit of a cliche, but unquestionably the two Sundays on which my two young daughters were born. You probably mean my professional life, though. If so, then it’s the third time that Simon Gilbert was acquitted - although Paul Shotton’s case was a real achievement. We had to deal with a lot of threats in both cases. Also, watching the BNP leaving the public gallery during the appeal hearing in Shotton, when they realised the RSPCA’s case was lost, gave all of us a great sense of satisfaction, though. The case was a terrible battle.
    RK:You’re a Tory Councillor - did that make representing Paul Shotton interesting?
    JR: I’ve done a lot of things for the Tories over the years, and I’m still a Conservative Councillor. It certainly didn’t get in the way with Paul. He did his homework and asked for me, which was nice. The fact that I’m a Tory was certainly a talking point, though. Paul is a man for whom, incidentally, I have an immense amount of respect. The BNP really put him through the mill and it was a feature of the case that might have been even bigger than it was. Paul is a man who deserves better than that.
    RK:In the Shotton case, the RSPCA’s sensational allegation that his Labrador, Baron was emaciated and dehydrated and had been left outside to die obviously got the story into the papers. When did you realise that something was wrong and that the allegations were untrue?
    JR:It’s not really my job to ‘realise’ or ‘know’ things, as such. Paul was always, and rightly it turned out, insistent that the allegations were untrue. It was my job to represent him in accordance with his instructions. The biggest obstacle was clear evidence from an experienced RSPCA vet who claimed he’d weighed Baron at 19kg. The Shottons’ own vet had weighed Baron at 30kg a few months before, so Baron seemed to have lost a lot of weight. We had to allege that the RSPCA vet was mistaken, but he gave all sorts of detail about how he’d personally weighed Baron standing on his own scales. Nigel Weller, my Solicitor, pressed the RSPCA for disclosure of the blood tests referred to in the RSPCA vet’s evidence. The RSPCA’s vet claimed it was the Shottons’ vets who lost them.
    We eventually got the bloods from the RSPCA just before the first trial. They showed there was no dehydration or emaciation. On appeal, Nigel Weller had Dr Udo Hetzel, the top veterinary pathologist at Liverpool University, do a full post mortem. Incredibly embarrassing things for the RSPCA came to light - Baron’s carcass weighed 29.6kg and he’d not been fed for a day at the RSPCA vet’s surgery. Rather than drop the case, the RSPCA threats of applications for wasted costs were made if Dr Hetzel was called. You just can’t imagine the CPS doing that.
    We did call Dr Hetzel. By the time he gave his evidence, the RSPCA’s vet had seen the way things were going and confessed that he had not weighed Baron at all. He claimed that he’d got the erroneous figure of 19kg from his veterinary nurse - we had to get all this from the vet, not from the RSPCA, though.
    RK: That’s an amazing, but terrifying, story. Do you think the RSPCA should be allowed to prosecute as they see fit or should there be some control by the CPS as suggested by MPs like Roger Gale and Frank Field?
    JR:There should. These cases are just two of many examples. The RSPCA spends the best part of £310,000,000 a year on its private prosecutions. This is money that is being diverted from what the people think that the RSPCA do. I don’t think the RSPCA will ever stop prosecuting people and hand their files to the CPS, like the Scottish SPCA has to, and does very successfully. It’s time to urgently amend the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and stop the RSPCA from prosecuting. That act stopped the police from prosecuting and made them to refer all their files to the CPS. Animal welfare charities should focus on animal welfare, not on prosecutions.
    The disgust which I have heard expressed for the RSPCA as a result of what their prosecutions department is doing at the moment is terrifying. It can’t be good for the long-term health of the charity, or the value of its ‘Freedom Food’ brand.

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