30 August 2016
THE last member of a gang of ‘badger-baiters’ from Bradford has been told he faces jail for his role in filming the group’s “horrific” actions.
Peter Walker, 21, (photos attached) was today found guilty of ten offences under the Protection of Badgers Act and Animal Welfare Act following a trial at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court.
He had admitted being present when the offences were committed in woodland in North Yorkshire on January 18 and 25 last year, but denied playing an active role as he was filming the group’s activities on a mobile phone.
Two of the other four gang members, Kaider Tariq, 22, of Dalby Avenue, Bradford Moor, and Nathan Niland, 26, of Idle Road, Idle, were jailed for 24 weeks in June for their role in the “barbaric” case.
The two other men involved, Tristan Asbury, 18, of Lymington Drive, Holme Wood, and Luke Lowther, 26, of Farway, Holme Wood, were jailed for 18 weeks and 12 weeks respectively.
Andrew Davison, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said the gang had used dogs to flush the badgers out before setting the animals on them. They then took the badgers and kicked and stamped on them, also hitting them with a spade.
He said Walker had both encouraged and assisted the other members of the group, and could therefore be convicted in a joint enterprise role.
“He knew exactly what he was doing on both occasions, he was not an innocent bystander,” he said.
“He filmed the brutalising of badgers for his enjoyment and the enjoyment of his co-defendants.”
Mr Davison said that on video footage, Walker could be heard shouting: “Shall I let that terrier go then”, and: “A good ten minutes and it’s still alive.”
He added: “There was no reason for the defendant to be present other than to engage in criminal activity. He took active enjoyment in what were horrific scenes. He was at the very heart of what was going on.”
Walker’s solicitor advocate, Simon Hustler, said the incidents did not constitute an animal fight, describing the process as a “hunt”.
He also said that while his client had been present, he had not encouraged the activity by filming it.
“Everything is filmed these days, that is something that we have to accept,” he said, at which point chairman of the bench, Brian Outlaw, responded: “Does that make it right?”
Mr Hustler replied: “Did filming it encourage what went on? It is an open-ended debate and one that cannot be resolved in this case.”
Finding him guilty of all ten offences, Mr Outlaw told Walker, of Shirley Road, Tong: “You were more than just a cameraman, you were part of the whole event. Your participation and proximity was clearly evident. This was not a hunt, it was a fight to the death. We are not tying the hands of any future bench, but we are looking at custody.”
The case was adjourned until October 7 for a pre-sentence report, with Walker granted unconditional bail.
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