Badger killer and red kite chick thief avoids prison

This is such a weird case and there’s a lot about its progress through the judicial system that I don’t understand and haven’t found anyone yet who can provide a decent explanation.

Way back in December 2020 I blogged about the trial at Newport Magistrates Court of a 39-year-old man, Dewi James Price, who had been found guilty in his absence of killing a badger in the Builth Wells area of Powys on February 18, 2018. He was also convicted of taking a red kite in Gelligaer, Caerphilly, on May 19, 2019, and was found guilty of intentionally or recklessly disturbing a red kite while it was in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young and of intentionally or recklessly disturbing the dependent young of a red kite. He had filmed himself committing these crimes and boasted about his activities online. He was due to be sentenced the following week at Newport crown Court (see here).

[There are numerous ‘trophy’ photos like this on Price’s Facebook page]

However, it was then reported that sentencing had been switched to Cardiff Crown Court but sentencing had been deferred until 8th January 2021 because the defendant’s barrister had told the judge her client wanted to appeal his conviction (see here).

This made no sense to me. I thought appeals were undertaken after sentencing, not before.

Anyway, after that newspaper report nothing more was heard of this case. I’ve asked a few people about it during 2021 but nobody seemed to know anything about it.

Until a few days ago.

On the 9th February 2022, the Wales Online website published the news that Dewi Price had appeared at Swansea crown Court for sentencing.

He was sentenced to a total of six months in prison – comprising five months for the badger offence and one month for the Red Kite offences to run consecutively – suspended for 12 months.

He must also complete a rehabilitation course and pay a £125 contribution to the £9,946 costs of bringing the prosecution. The court ordered two dogs be taken off Price, and the defendant was banned from keeping dogs for two years – the judge said the period of the ban would likely have been “much longer” had the case come to court sooner.

The judge also said she was “quite sure” it would have been immediate custody had the case come to court sooner.

Eh? I don’t understand why he wasn’t sentenced back in Dec 2020 after being convicted, nor why it has taken 14 months to get him back into court for sentencing, nor why this delay would lessen his sentence.

If there are any blog readers from law enforcement who could offer an explanation it’d be welcome!

UPDATE 14.20hrs: There’s another news item about this case published by the South Wales Argus on 10th February 2022. This article claims Price was found guilty at a trial at Cardiff Crown Court on 4th February 2022. I’m not sure this is accurate reporting.

37 thoughts on “Badger killer and red kite chick thief avoids prison”

  1. I am law enforcement but don’t work within the courts so this is an educated guess at best, but I’d say the delay is just down to the massively overwhelmed court system. The court are aware of how being essentially in limbo awaiting trial or sentencing is a punishment in itself so I suspect this is what reduced the severity of the sentence in the end.

    I should add that I don’t agree with it, I’d like to see him locked up for a long time personally.

    1. Thanks, Anon cop.

      I understand that the courts are overwhelmed, but it’s been reported that his original sentencing date (23 Dec 2020) was delayed at the request of the defendant’s barrister because she said he wanted to appeal his conviction (he was absent from court). Is that a common arrangement?

      And if the delay was at the defendant’s request then is it reasonable to say he’s ‘suffered’ whilst waiting for a new sentencing date?

  2. Apart from the fact it makes no sense the sentencing is ridiculous. He should be banned for life from keeping any animal and should be locked away for a fair time (yes I know the max sentence at the time was 6 months). This pathetic sentence will do nothing to deter his sadism. This psychopathy runs deep and if he is to be rehabilitated he needs therapy, which he should pay for and undergo or face prison. No mention of that poor fox.

    1. Rehabilitation, therapy and such hokum does not work with xxxxxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxx. One glance at the picture tells anyone with a scintilla of intuition that there is no place in society for such people.
      The criminal justice system in this country is in a state of collapse.

      1. I didn’t say it would necessarily work. But what is the alternative? It isn’t possible to lock people up forever (much as I might like). And such pathetic sentences are never going to prevent him re-offending. So it is the only possible chance of a solution if we want to protect our wildlife/animals from these sadists

        1. The sentences need to be strong enough to be a deterrent. A harsher sentence might not change him, but if sentences were much harsher, scum like him might think again before committing these crimes.

  3. I wonder if he had managed to stretch the time delay for another six months, prior to sentencing if the court would have paid him ???
    How many other criminals will quote this case to have their punishment reduced while the criminal justice system is in Covid disarray?? I use the word “justice” as a laugh.

  4. It’s 30 years since I studied the English legal system, but from memory you can appeal both conviction and sentence from Magistrates Courts. In both cases it needs to be within 21 days of the original decision (I.e 21 days after conviction if appealing conviction, similar after sentence if appealing that). So if the sentencing hearing was more than 21 days after the conviction, you can have appeals against conviction before sentencing.

    1. It’s possible there was an unreported appeal hearing (at Crown Court) , the conviction was upheld and remitted for sentencing. Or the appeal was dropped and then sentencing delayed due to covid

  5. I don’t claim to understand the court procedure or the reduced sentencing, I would have locked this sadistic lout up, banned him from keeping dogs for life and made him pay much more in costs. Then I’m not a judge or magistrate just a naturalist with a distinct dislike of wildlife criminals perhaps the courts need to be reminded that these folk are serious criminals and to stop giving them the benefit of the doubt or soft sentences.

    1. The law and judiciary should also be trained in the fact that sadism against animals doesn’t stop there. Plenty of research that links this cruelty with crimes against humans.

  6. Here we are again! (*)
    RPUK is ‘spewing poisonous vitriol’ across social media! Can you townies not see that this is just a decent hardworking ‘countryman’ doing his bit to ‘keep the balance’ in nature…dear me!

    And here is the down-the-pub defence that you will hear trotted out in these types of cases…I can hear it being said now…
    “it’s only a f-g fox – they kill poulty and pheasants for fun you know…and it was only a stinky old badger – they spread TB to cows you know, and it was only a Shite-Hawk (Red Kite) – f-g vermin anyway – they set them loose and gamekeepers and farmers didn’t want them in the first place…Oh and real working terriers don’t mind losing lumps of their faces or having the underside of their chins pulled off by a billy brock, it’s what they’re bred for and want to do anyway…etc, etc, etc…”

    (*) impending irony alert.

    1. Too true once had this sort of vitriol first hand from an under keeper caught shooting rooks where he had been forbidden to, turned into a real rant about all sorts of stuff. I told him he was very lucky that he had comp[any, his disapproving head keeper (who was OK). He asked why of course, I said if you had been alone, xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxx Head keeper just smiled.

      1. Such ignorance and zero compassion for sentient beings. I urge you to look at his twitter profile xxxxxxxxxxxxxx and tell me this man is normal or has an ounce of compassion. He’s clearly deranged and as such has, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx torture the animals xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and our precious wildlife. Vermin is a term adopted by those seeking to justify their sick activities.

  7. A real hard man arnt you, needs to be bitten by a badger, I wouldnt like to know any one like that, human horror bag, disappointing sentence as usual,

  8. Any member of the public can simply ask the Attorney General to review a Crown Court sentence if that person thinks it is too lenient (England and Wales).

    However, it is a pity that violent wildlife crime sentencing appears not to be eligible (see the simple procedure explained on https://www.gov.uk/ask-crown-court-sentence-review).

    Maybe an emailed application might help to raise awareness of this issue? How else can we make our feelings known to the authorities?

    uls.referrals@attorneygeneral.gov.uk – the deadline would be less than 28 days from the date of sentencing. Or, you can telephone your request…

    But note this from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47879288 (2019):

    “Unduly lenient sentences review scheme ‘inadequate’.

    About a third of all requests, 1,148, were dismissed outright because the crimes committed were not eligible for review – something critics say has to change.”

    and

    “Arfon Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, said: ‘The law is inadequate and it is hugely important that the scheme should be expanded to cover more offences.'”

    and

    “Lyndon Harris, from Oxford University’s Centre for Criminology, said the scheme should cover all serious crimes to increase public confidence in the justice system.”

    The only way we can hope to change this, therefore, is for a lot of people to begin complaining. Maybe starting with this case.

  9. I think others have answered this.
    Without knowing exactly the events which took place – I can only assume that what might have happened is as follows:-

    It looks as though Newport Mags court found the defendant guilty, and the magistrates committed him to Newport Crown court for sentencing. (if the offender has been convicted of an either-way offence in the magistrates’ court, the magistrates can commit the case to the Crown Court if they believe their sentencing powers are not adequate to reflect the seriousness of the offence)

    It would then appear that the defendant appealed his conviction- I note it is reported he was found guilty in his absence, in which case I suspect the defendant may have claimed he wasn’t able to properly defend himself during his initial trial? (He must appeal within 21 days of conviction)

    As the original case was heard in the magistrates court, then the appeal will have had to have been heard in the crown court. (due to the hierarchy of the court system in England and Wales)

    I can then only assume that due to the backlog in cases caused by the restrictions due to covid, there has been a considerable delay in getting the appeal heard in the crown court- in which case it could be correct that the defendant was tried and found guilty at Cardiff Crown court on 4th Feb 2022. If the report about him being sentenced at Swansea crown court is correct then I assume he was sent to Swansea Crown court on the 9th Feb for sentencing?

    I suspect the judge when passing sentence has taken into account the length of time the defendant has been on bail to the court, (in the appeal case it appears as though this has been just over 12 months, and he may have been on bail before that whilst awaiting the original trial at the magistrates court).

    It is a shame the magistrates didn’t sentence him at the original hearing to a term of imprisonment, as this may have resulted in him actually spending some time inside whilst he launched his appeal??

    I suspect a suspended sentence will not change the behaviour of this man, and wildlife will be at risk from his cruel and evil activities! I note one of media articles suggests he was part of a gang of wildlife criminals who travelled to Mid Wales to commit their crimes. No doubt this gang is still involved in similar activities, as the there is no mention of any co accused! Hopefully justice will catch up with them!!

  10. Knowing how strong the influence of Freemasonry is in Wales, and in the judiciary in particular, I would put this forward as being the reason for the leniency etc.

  11. so disgusting he should have been put in prison for what he done, not given a suspended sentence what is the legal system coming to when they allow evil people to brutally kill animals and is all they get is s slap on the wrist yeah he fined
    He is probably laughing because he got away with it.😡😡

  12. All other considerations aside: why wasn’t it charged the full cost of the prosecution? His actions prompted the trial, he was guilty, therefore shouldn’t he have been fully liable for all associated costs?

  13. Can I just ask why this “man” wasn’t banned from keeping any kind of animal for the rest of his life, as he clearly displays a deep contempt for all earth’s creatures. Our justice system is clearly broken beyond repair.

  14. Disgusting, again it shows contempt for animal life, this country is slowly slipping down a very slippery path, if the law won’t act accordingly with humanity and care for animals, not to mention the rich and poor divide, it’s one rule for them and another rule for us mentality, there asking for a revolt and people will reach their breaking point, I find this type of behaviour more and more common, it’s barbaric, why the cruelty? Blood thirsty bastards, I hope to God they come to an almighty nasty end.

  15. I am a part time farmer and countryman who stalks . I would certainly not like to be tarred with the same brush as this man. He does nothing but harm and should have been given a massive fine as well as prison.

  16. This vile person knows no bounds!! And he should be jailed! He is obviously unconcerned about our British Wildlife and flouts the law!! Why oh why do we allow these scum to get away with this !!!

  17. The original adjournment would be because the magistrates considered their sentencing powers insufficient. Tha appeal against conviction would be because expecting s custodial sentence the defence chose to get it retried at s crown court where conviction I’d usually less likely than magistrates. The defendant would probably be on bail during all this time, possibly with conditions attached. This may have been considered in the final sentencing. As for time delay, sadly that’s the way it is. Fund the courts better and things will be different.

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