Is this convicted gamekeeper a member of the SGA?

Last Tuesday (3 April 2012), Scottish gamekeeper Robert Christie of the Lindertis Estate was convicted at Forfar Sheriff Court of wildlife crimes (see here).

Nine days later, we are still waiting for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) to issue a public statement condemning the criminal activities that led to the conviction and also clarifying Christie’s SGA membership status. Was he an SGA member at the time he committed the offences (2010)? If so, is he still a member now he has a criminal conviction?

It’s unusual for the SGA to be so coy about the membership status of a convicted gamekeeper. To their credit, in each of the cases that have been heard so far this year (and even in one case that didn’t even make it to court – the crow trap video case), the SGA has been quick to publicise whether the accused/convicted gamekeeper was an SGA member.

So why so coy this time? Perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they just got caught up in the Easter holidays and haven’t got around to making a statement yet. Although they have managed to find the time to add various other news items to their website, including an announcement about a forthcoming snaring training course at a choice of venue that certainly raised our eyebrows (see here).

If anyone has tried to contact the SGA about Christie’s membership status we would be very interested to hear about it. For anyone who wants to ask them now, here are the SGA’s contact details:

Email: info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk

Tel (Perth Office): 01738 587515

4 thoughts on “Is this convicted gamekeeper a member of the SGA?”

  1. Thanks to the contributor who sent us this email on 14 April:

    I sent this question to SGA 6 days ago – no reply yet…

    Hello,
    Can you please tell me if gamekeeper Robert Christie (Lindertis Estate), recently convicted at Forfar Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to wildlife crime, is (or was) a member of the SGA?
    Thanks

  2. Mr Christie had taken legitimate steps to decommission the trap by blocking the door open with a log, the owl was trapped accidentally – anything but deliberately (the fiscal made this clear in her narration), he had been held in high esteem for all his gamekeeper days and should he be sentenced to anything more serious than an admonition, he would lose the right to operate under the general licence for 5 years, therefore making him unable to work until post-retirement age. The Sheriff said this was a draconian measure and took it seriously into consideration. Given these circumstances, the Sheriff felt that an admonition was the most appropriate disposal and made it clear that if Mr Christie was to come before the court again, it would be a different story. The Sheriff’s job is to look at the full facts and circumstances of each case and apply the test of fairness accordingly. In my submission, he discharged his duty successfully here.

  3. Thing is though Vic, Christie’s steps to decommission the trap weren’t legitimate, were they, which is why he now has a criminal conviction Had he read the conditions of the general licence including the first condition:

    “This licence may only be used by authorised persons who have read and understood its conditions”

    then he would have known that:

    “When any cage trap is not in use….doors or panels of cage traps must be removed from the site or, if they are not removed from the site, they must be taken off the trap and secured by a locked padlock”. It doesn’t say anything about wedging the door open with a log.

    Interesting that the SGA still hasn’t made a statement about Christie’s membership status. What does that tell us? Perhaps you should ask Ken to pull his finger out, although as they say, silence speaks volumes. We’re also still interested to find out if it was a keeper on this estate who received a Fiscal’s warning in 2010 for snaring offences.

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