Decision pending in Scottish gamekeeper’s conviction appeal

Last month we blogged about how a Scottish gamekeeper, William (Billy) Dick, was appealing against his conviction for killing a buzzard (see here).

A quick recap:

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 in April but was then delayed. His appeal was heard at the High Court on 13th May 2016:

Billy Dick high court appeal May 2016 - Copy

The three presiding judges have reserved judgement. This means they’ll consider the appeal and produce a written judgement in due course.

How long before we can expect to hear their decision? We have no idea. Apparently there’s no time limit and much will depend on the quantity and complexity of the evidence heard, and how busy the three judges are! See here for an enlightening blog about waiting for a reserved judgement.

The decision will impact on the current prosecution against Newlands Estate landowner Andrew Duncan, charged with being vicariously liable for gamekeeper Dick’s crimes. The case against Andrew Duncan has encountered frequent delays while Dick’s appeal was underway. The next court hearing in the vicarious liability case is scheduled for 3rd June 2016 (see here). We can expect further delays if the judgement on Dick’s appeal has not been delivered by then.

8 thoughts on “Decision pending in Scottish gamekeeper’s conviction appeal”

  1. We saw this with our own eyes. We saw him stamping on the buzzard and we gave evidence (and treated like liars for hours) that got him convicted in court, yet, with the advice from a high paid QC he is still saying he didn’t do it. How frustrating to know something in your memory and your heart yet still see money buy injustuce [Ed: one sentence removed as defamatory]. I don’t even care about his punishment, he’s probably been punished enough. I care that the truth outs for one poor trapped and beaten wild bird.

  2. Most people working in the legal profession will know it can be corrupt/obstructive in various ways. I had a solicitor tell me once that he could not defend a certain case in one particular fashion because to do so would result in his law practise being effectively closed down. How would they do this? He said witness statements would disappear or not arrive in time, witnesses would not be cited, court dates would be double booked and much more. Like most professions if one bucks the received wisdoms and conventional practises then life is made very, very hard for you. As George Bernard Shaw stated “All professions are conspiracies against the laity.” That doesn’t mean that things cannot be changed, but the process of changing them is long and winding, leaving many honest and sincere people injured along the way. Well done, Sally, thanks for your courage and bravery in testifying in the first place. Thank you. Lets hop integrity triumphs on this occasion and another step forward has been taken.

  3. If his appeal is upheld there must be questions asked about bribery, vested interests, and judicial bias.

    [Ed: the first five words have been changed as original wording was defamatory; the words we’ve used have the same meaning but are not defamatory!]

  4. I was an expert witness in a case once, commercial not criminal, and had to face a barrage of lies and innuendo from the plaintiff’s barrister and a totally inept judge. I was threatened with a contempt charge for pointing out that the judge did not have the necessary understanding of the issues to actually make a judgement.

    I ran into their barrister on the way out of the court, who apologised as he was “only doing his job”. I suggested that he move a long way away from me very quickly unless he wanted to be victim of an assault.

    The judicial system is corrupt.

  5. Thanks again Sally for reporting this horrific crime. It is long overdue in Scotland that our natural wildlife heritage is treated with such glib, wanton disrespect.

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