There are not many people who cannot help to have been moved by the facts surrounding the recent prosecution of six men and a youth for animal cruelty offences relating to badgers. There has been national press coverage of the case, in which one of Zenith’s criminal team – Sobia Ahmed – successfully prosecuted those involved.
On Monday 9th January 2012, the sentences were handed down which included, for the worst perpetrators, a 4 month prison sentence. The offences included causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal; wilfully killing a badger; digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett.
Armed with firearms, a locating device, and hunting dogs, the men engineered the torture and killing of 3 badgers and a litter of unborn cubs. Unbeknown to them, their actions were witnessed by a local wildlife artist, Robert Fuller. He had heard the sound of chittering and squealing from a distance which he recognised to be the noise made by a badger in distress. He followed the sound and came upon a pack of vicious dogs ravaging a badger, being encouraged and goaded by the watching defendants. He took a number of covert photographs of the men which formed crucial evidence during the eight day trial at Scarborough Magistrates Court. The District Judge commended his actions, describing him as ‘brave and courageous’.
Despite the fact that badger baiting was outlawed in 1835, it seems that it is making a comeback. The RSPCA has recorded 355 incidents of badger persecution in 2010; up by 100 incidents on the previous year. Animal charities have also reported a surge in poaching and lamping – where powerful lights are mounted on vans to chase down hares, rabbits and deer at night. The case was described by RSPCA Inspector Geoff Edmonds as one of the worst of its kind that he had dealt with in over 20 years.
In passing sentence, District Judge Harrison condemned the actions of the defendants as ‘barbaric’ and ‘abhorrent.’
Sobia Ahmed is an experienced criminal law barrister called in 2007 and former Senior Crown Prosecutor.
To read more about the press coverage of the case, click on some of the links below:
To view Sobia's profile, please click here.