RSPB feel burden of proof

A gamekeeper accused of killing two peregrine falcons has had his case dismissed after the judge ruled that footage filmed by the RPSB was inadmissible as evidence. District Judge Jane Goodwin criticised the organisation for conducting covert surveillance in the Forest of Bowland without proper authority.

The Countryside Alliance has urged organisations to seek appropriate authorisation for surveillance. Their chief executive, Tim Bonner, said: “We share the RSPB’s anger that people who have illegally killed birds of prey may not be convicted, but in that anger it needs to be honest that its own failure to address such an obvious anomaly in the evidence-gathering process could be helping criminals avoid prosecution.”

The CA has previously voiced concern over illegal surveillance. Tim continued: “There is a significant risk that evidence collected by covert surveillance for the purpose of prosecutions without authorisation might be rejected by the courts. The RSPB has, however, continued to act unlawfully and its refusal to submit surveillance activity to proper regulation has created the current uncertainty.”

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