A Scottish gamekeeper whose trial collapsed earlier this year on a legal technicality has had his acquittal upheld by the Appeal Court.
Anstruther Peter Smith, a beat-keeper on Airlie Estate near Kirriemuir, Angus, was originally charged with several alleged wildlife crime offences after three buzzards were discovered in a crow cage trap at Wellbank Wood in March 2011. It had been argued that allegedly the trap didn’t meet the standards required under the General Licence. Two buzzards were immediately released but one was treated for several days before release for injuries believed to have been sustained by the buzzard’s attempts to escape from the trap.
The case went to trial at Forfar Sheriff Court in June 2012, where Smith’s defence agent argued that an SSPCA inspector’s evidence should be ruled inadmissable on the basis that the defendant’s interview was ‘unfair’. Sheriff Kevin Veal agreed and Smith was acquitted.
The Crown appealed this decision but an appeal committee (Lady Paton, Lady Smith and Lord Wheatley) recently upheld it and refused the appeal. The full details of the case and the decision can be read here.
An overview article in the Courier here.