Further delay for trial of Millden Estate gamekeeper accused of animal fighting offences

There has been yet further delay in the trial of a Scottish gamekeeper from the Millden Estate in the Angus Glens, who is accused of a number of animal welfare offences related to animal fighting.

This trial was due to commence today, after a series of adjournments going back to November 2020(!) but once again the case has been delayed, this time until May 2022.

Here’s some history on this case:

Police Scotland and the Scottish SPCA raided a property on Millden Estate and another property in Aberdeenshire in October 2019 after intelligence suggested animal fighting was taking place. A number of dogs were seized (see here) and a number of dead raptors were also discovered. The Scottish SPCA was dealing with the alleged animal fighting offences and Police Scotland were supposed to be dealing with the discovery of the dead raptors.

Charges relating to alleged animal fighting offences were brought in November 2020. Specifically these were under the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 as follows:

Section 19 (concerns offences related to unnecessary suffering).

Section 23 (concerns offences related to animal fights).

Section 24 (concerns offences related to ensuring the welfare of animals).

A preliminary hearing was due to be heard in court in November 2020 but was adjourned until 11th May 2021 and a trial date was set for 2nd June 2021.

The June trial date came and went and the case was further delayed, with a new trial date set for 3rd December 2021.

That December trial was adjourned, apparently at the behest of the gamekeeper’s QC, and a new trial date was set for 11th April 2022 (i.e. today).

Today’s trial has also been adjourned and a new trial date has been set for 5th May 2022.

There hasn’t been any public statement from Police Scotland about the circumstances in which the dead raptors were found. I have been asking the Police Wildlife Crime Officer about this aspect of the case for a couple of years now but the responses have been evasive and non-committal. Until January this year, when I was told:

“… A report is being submitted [to the Crown Office] forthwith.”

Unfortunately as this is a live case I am unable to publish further details or accept comments until proceedings have concluded. Thanks for your patience.

Previous blogs on this case can be read herehereherehereherehere, here

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