RSPCA AND POLICE ENTRY, SEARCH AND SEIZURE DEEMED UNLAWFUL LEADING TO FULL ACQUITTAL FOR OUR CLIENT
The Firm wish to share with you the recent successful defence of two of our clients who were both charged with a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The trial of our two clients was heard over 5 days at Hastings Magistrates Court. Successful submissions by Mr Alex Weller of this firm and Miss Howe of counsel at the close of the prosecution case lead to a number of the charges being dismissed against our clients, because the Court did not allow the prosecution to rely upon the evidence obtained due to the unlawful entry, serarch and seizure of the RSPCA and Police at our clients home address.
The case involved a number of birds of prey. The seizure of which had in effect put our clients out of business until the conclusion of the trial. A number of the birds of prey from our clients had been removed by a disgruntled former employee of our clients. To protect their birds the our clients removed them to their home address. This was only a temporary measure until newer safer accommodation could be sought for the birds. This was found and new aviaries were in the process of being constructed. Ironically our clients had called the RSPCA regarding the missing birds and had asked for their assistance.
The RSPCA tried to attend the new premises of our clients but were refused entry by the owner of the property (which of course he was legally entitled to do- RSPCA Inspectors are members of publis in Police style uniforms, they have no rights of entry, search and seizure unless permitted to do so by a lawfully obtained warrant). The RSPCA inspector then went away to try and obtain a warrant, which quiet rightly was refused by the local Magistrates Court, because there was no evidence of any offences being committed. The RSPCA Inspector had been contacted by the disgruntled former employee and had chosen to believe what they were being told as gospel without first attempting to contact our clients for an explanation.
The RSPCA attended our clients address and were refused entry, they then phoned the police to come and basically let them into the property by using their powers. It was quiet clear that this was never a police investigation, the Police then failed to provide our clients with any of the necessary safe guards afforded to home owners when the Police enter your property. After the entry the Police and RSPCA then conducted a search of the premises and seized a considerable number of highly prized and valuable birds of prey from our clients and then a prosecution was launched against our clients.
The Magistrates after hearing defence submissions regarding the unlawful entry, search and seizure agreed that the rights of our clients had been significantly violated and that they were suffering a significant prejudice as a result. The evidence obtained was thrown out by the Court which we are pleased to say lead to a full acquittal for our clients, who were both delighted with the result.