Gamekeeper jailed for killing rare bird


First gamekeeper jailed for persecuting raptors

Monday 12 January 2015

For the first time in the UK a gamekeeper has been jailed for persecuting birds of prey, a sentence which conservationists are hailing as historic.

George Mutch, 48, received four months in prison in Aberdeen Sheriff Court after being found guilty last month on four charges: illegal use of a trap; illegal killing of a goshawk; illegal taking of a goshawk; illegal taking of a buzzard.

The offences took place on 5,500 acre Kildrummy Estate in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire in 2012, which is owned by a Jersey-based company.

It was one of the first cases in Scotland that hidden camera footage, obtained by the RSPB was allowed as evidence in court.

It revealed the Mutch had killed a juvenile goshawk by removing it from one of the traps and beating it on the head several times with a stick.The gamekeeper could be seen putting a buzzard and another goshawk in white sacks on the camera footage then walking out of view with the bags in his hands. It is not known what happened to these birds.

Sheriff Noel McPartlin said Noel McPartlin said the persecution of wild birds was a "huge problem" and described the killing of the goshawk as a really serious offence. He said: "This was a determined course of action. Having regard to the gravity of the offence, I am of the view that there is no other method of dealing with you which is appropriate to this case other than the imposition of a custodial sentence."

Duncan Orr Ewing, head of species and land management at RSPB Scotland, said: "This sentence is a historic, landmark result.

" We would like to thank the Crown Office and Police Scotland for helping to bring this case to a successful conviction, as well as the exemplary work of the RSPB Scotland investigations team. This penalty should be a turning point, sending a clear message to those determined to flout our laws that wildlife crime will not be tolerated but instead will be treated with the seriousness that it deserves. Wildlife criminals must expect no sympathy from now on."

Sara Shaw, procurator fiscal for wildlife and environment, said: "Birds of prey are given strict protection by our law. Goshawks in particular are rare birds: the court heard evidence in this case that there are only about 150 nesting pairs in Scotland.

"It is highly important to preserve Scotland’s natural heritage, including the wildlife that forms part of it. Our environmental laws exist to provide this protection. This case involved serious contraventions of those laws. The conviction of Mr Mutch and the severity of the sentence given by the court highlights that message."

Defence lawyer David McKie said his client had now been suspended from his job and could be forced to move home because his house was tied up with his employment. Mr McKie said police had also turned up at Mutch’s home to take away guns and could revoke his gun certificates because he had now been convicted of a crime.

A spokesman for Scottish Land & Estates, the landowners organisation, said: "The illegal killing of any bird of prey is unacceptable and anyone who engages in such activity can, rightly, expect to feel the full weight of the law. There are many people and groups working together to eradicate wildlife crime and significant progress has been made However, it is important that this effort is sustained."

A spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: "The SGA has taken the ultimate sanction available to it, as an organisation. Mr Mutch will no longer hold SGA membership. The court has made its decision and Mr Mutch will now have to live with the consequences of his actions. "

A spokeswoman for the RSPB said that while gamekeepers had been jailed in the past for the likes of badger bating, this was the first time in the UK that crimes against raptors had carried a custodial sentence.

The Kildrummy Estate is owned by Kildrummy (Jersey) Ltd of St Helier.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/environment/first-gamekeeper-jailed-for-persecuting-raptors.116027981

########################################################################################

Gamekeeper George Mutch jailed for killing rare bird

A gamekeeper found guilty of killing a rare bird and setting traps illegally to capture others has been jailed for four months.

George Mutch, 48, of Kildrummy, denied recklessly killing or injuring a goshawk and illegally taking away another goshawk and a buzzard in 2012.

Mutch was found guilty of four charges at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Mutch is believed to be the first gamekeeper in Scotland to have been jailed for such an offence.

The case was also one of the first times in Scotland that hidden camera footage, obtained by the RSPB, had been used to prosecute wildlife crime.

Sheriff Noel McPartlin said the persecution of wild birds was a "huge problem".

He said: "Having regard to the gravity of the offence, I am of the view that there is no other method of dealing with you which is appropriate to this case other than the imposition of a custodial sentence."

Duncan Orr-Ewing, head of species and land management at RSPB Scotland, said: "This sentence is an historic, landmark result.

"We would like to thank the Crown Office and Police Scotland for helping to bring this case to a successful conviction, as well as the exemplary work of the RSPB Scotland investigations team.

"This penalty should be a turning point, sending a clear message to those determined to flout our laws that wildlife crime will not be tolerated but instead will be treated with the seriousness that it deserves.

"Wildlife criminals must expect no sympathy from now on."

‘Ultimate sanction’

Sara Shaw, procurator fiscal for wildlife and environment, said: "Birds of prey are given strict protection by our law.

"Goshawks in particular are rare birds: the court heard evidence in this case that there are only about 150 nesting pairs in Scotland.

"It is highly important to preserve Scotland’s natural heritage, including the wildlife that forms part of it. Our environmental laws exist to provide this protection.

"This case involved serious contraventions of those laws. The conviction of Mr Mutch and the severity of the sentence given by the court highlights that message."

A Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) spokesman said: "The SGA has taken the ultimate sanction available to it, as an organisation. Mr Mutch will no longer hold SGA membership.

"The court has made its decision and Mr Mutch will now have to live with the consequences of his actions."

A spokesman for Scottish Land and Estates, which represents landowners, said: "The illegal killing of any bird of prey is unacceptable and anyone who engages in such activity can, rightly, expect to feel the full weight of the law.

"There are many people and groups working together to eradicate wildlife crime and significant progress has been made. However, it is important that this effort is sustained."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-30777299

North West Hunt Saboteurs Association

07960 038230
www.nwhsa.org.uk
info
Blog – https://nwhsa.wordpress.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ManchesterHuntSabs

Direct Action Against All Forms of bloodsports

Advertisements

One Reply to “Gamekeeper jailed for killing rare bird”

  1. FILTHY EVIL SCUM LIKE THESE SHOULD BE PUT IN TRAPS AND LEFT TO DIE. I SURPOSE IT’S A START THAT HE HAS GONE TO JAIL. ALL THESE PSYCOPATHS THAT TORTURE AND MURDER ANIMALS SHOULD BE TORTURED AND THROWN IN PRISON TO DIE, THEY ARE SOME OF THE NASTIEST PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET, THEY ARE IN FACT MASS MURDERERS AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s