This is a horrendous killing spree. Further, these are the only protected species for which charges could be proved over the course of a year or so. The length of time that Wilson has been a gamekeeper is not stated in the report but considering that he is 60 years old, it is likely that he has been gamekeeping for some time. If these are the protected species found to have been killed over a year how many remain undiscovered that were killed illegally over that period. Multiply that by the years that Wilson has been a gamekeeper and it can be imagined how he has deprived the Scottish countryside of protected and sometimes rare species.
So what might the sheriff at Jedburgh Sheriff Court impose as a penalty. I doubt if he will be able to take into account a previous conviction. This was a conviction in under the Animal Health and Welfare Scotland Act for keeping an eagle owl in filthy conditions.
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This conviction took place subsequent to the report by Police Scotland to the procurator fiscal for the wildlife crimes so is unlikely to be made known to the court. Options are a fine, imprisonment or a community penalty as a direct alternative to imprisonment. I would doubt that the sheriff will consider a fine to be appropriate. This is one of the most serious wildlife crimes to come before a sheriff for sentencing that I can remember.
Gamekeepers concern over vandalism of legal pest traps | Press and Journal
It includes the killing of two Schedule 1 birds, goshawks; an otter, which is a mammal with the highest protection under the Conservation Natural Habitats etc Regulations ; and not just a buzzard and a badger but three of each. In addition, in times when the use of deadly pesticides to kill wildlife is becoming less common, and after an amnesty period, Wilson had two containers of this banned substance.
Lastly comes the snaring offences, though not just one but There has been no more deserving case for a court to make an example of a convicted person by imposing a sentence of imprisonment. Had this case been a few years hence the imprisonment available to courts under consideration by the Scottish Government might be 5 years. In , in Scotland, an independent review conducted by Professor Mark Poustie found the current laws around wildlife crime may not be serving as a sufficient deterrent, while punishments fail to reflect the serious nature of some crimes.
To end on a note of fairness, since the snaring legislation in Scotland was improved substantially in under the Snares Scotland Order and in under the Wildlife and Environment Scotland Act, most of those who use snares have played by the rules. The level of wildlife crime discussed here, plus the recent golden eagles enigma and the trapping of a hen harrier may yet have disastrous consequences for those who participate in shooting.
All of this could have been avoided if the criminal gamekeepers, sporting agents and landowners in their midst had been outed by law-abiding shooters and their respective organisations. Maybe lessons will be learnt from this. We now await with interest the penalty handed out to Wilson and hopefully a report by Police Scotland to the procurator fiscal in regard to vicarious liability. I cannot find this consultation and have not received a copy of it. Can you help, please? Thanks for the link.
I could not find it. It has been open since 19 July, but how were people supposed to know?
It is lo on link on this page about an earlier consultation. It also states the consultation ends in August. Could you do likewise please. He was sent up to Scotland to setup the hunts with vexatious allegations over illegal hunting on the orders of Robbie Marsland CEO of the League. No knowledge of whether or not this is the case. My point is that the investigation of wildlife crime should be left to the police and they should be informed immediately there is any suspicion of criminality. This works perfectly well in Scotland with RSPB Investigations, who inform the police at the earliest stage and may in some cases be invited to work alongside the officers.
They may also be asked to continue to investigate an incident up to the point that there is suspicion or confirmation of criminality, for example a report of a dead raptor. I take your point yes that would be better for everyone, instead we are left highly suspicious of what really happened.
My information comes from the media releases. Any comment on the shooting of the various species by the gamekeeper who pleaded guilty?
Gamekeepers concern over vandalism of legal pest traps
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