An RSPB case against a grouse moor keeper has been dismissed after a judge ruled that the charity’s video evidence constituted an abuse of process.
The prosecution against Ian Sleightholm, 33, rested on video evidence that apparently showed him misusing a cage trap – but the court ruled that, when they set up the covert cameras to set up the footage, RSPB officers were trespassing on another farmer’s land.
The RSPB claimed that the trap – set by Mr Sleightholm – did not have adequate shade and that the water provided was unsuitable. The court noted that the charity’s sole evidence for this was the covertly obtained video footage and that it had not taken samples of the water or offered Mr Sleightholm the chance to have an independent analysis carried out. Giving judgement, the magistrates stated: “We firmly believe that water quality cannot be assessed by photographic evidence alone and that proper methods exist to establish its quality and suitability. These mechanisms were not used.”
There was widespread criticism for the RSPB after the case, with the National Gamekeepers’ Association saying it should “hang its head in shame.”
Mr Sleightholm was represented by Peter Glenser, instructed by Tim Ryan – both Gun Trade News contributors.