Criminal proceedings continued yesterday against Andrew Walter Bryce Duncan, who is alleged to be vicariously liable for the crimes committed by gamekeeper William (Billy) Dick in April 2014.
Gamekeeper Dick was convicted in August 2015 of killing a buzzard on the Newlands Estate, Dumfriesshire by striking it with rocks and repeatedly stamping on it (see here). Dick was sentenced in September 2015 and was given a £2000 fine (see here), although we understand he may be appealing his conviction.
Proceedings against Andrew Duncan, 71, who is believed to be responsible for the pheasant shoot on Newlands Estate, began in August 2015 and a provisional trial date was set for 23rd November 2015 (see here). However, at an intermediate diet hearing in October, the November trial date was dumped and a notional diet hearing was set for 18th January 2016 (see here).
A notional diet hearing is where an actual trial date may be set.
However, at yesterday’s hearing proceedings were adjourned again for another notional diet and a debate, to take place on 11th March 2016.
Vicarious liability in relation to the persecution of raptors in Scotland (where one person may potentially be legally responsible for the criminal actions of another person working under their supervision) came in to force four years ago, on 1st January 2012. To date there have been two successful convictions: one in December 2014 (see here) and one in December 2015 (see here). One further case did not reach the prosecution stage due, we believe, to the difficulties associated with identifying the management structure on the estate where the crimes were committed (see here).