A Scottish gamekeeper is appealing his conviction for killing a buzzard.
In August 2015, gamekeeper William (Billy) Dick, now 26, was found guilty of killing a buzzard on the Newlands Estate, Dumfriesshire, in April 2014. Two witnesses had observed him striking the buzzard with rocks and then repeatedly stamping on it (see here). In September 2015 he was sentenced: £1,500 fine for killing the buzzard and £500 for possession of the dead buzzard (see here).
Dick had maintained his innocence throughout the trial and had claimed he was elsewhere when the offence took place (see here).
His appeal was due to be heard this week but has now been delayed until 13th May 2016:
The outcome of this appeal will be interesting on several levels, not just whether the evidence accepted in the original trial was good enough. The case is tied in with the prosecution of Newlands Estate landowner Andrew Duncan, who is charged with being vicariously liable for the criminal actions of gamekeeper Dick. Andrew Duncan’s case has been repeatedly adjourned while Dick’s appeal is heard (see here).
If Dick’s appeal is upheld, we might expect the allegations against Andrew Duncan to be dropped. If the case against the landowner is dropped, we might expect landowners’ lobby group Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) to reinstate the membership of Newlands Estate, and also reinstate the Newlands Estate accreditation to SLE’s Wildlife Estates Scotland initiative, which, you’ll recall, has been “voluntarily suspended” pending legal proceedings (see here).
Interesting times ahead.