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Monday, Apr 25, 2005
Alleged: Mark Law
A judge cleared two Barnoldswick men of charges of animal cruelty, but the verdict on a third local defendant is expected on May 13.
Sean Parkinson (20), of Gisburn Road, and Daniel Clark (21), of St Mary's Avenue, were discharged from Reedley Magistrates Court after the prosecution produced no evidence linking them to an alleged badger dig on April 25th, 2004.
Mark Law (40), of Park Avenue, Barnoldswick, still faces the charge under the Protection of Badgers Act of attempting to take a badger, after District Judge Alan Fowler refused a request from his solicitor, Mr John Nuttall, to withdraw evidence submitted against him, in particular that he had used a locator. The three were arrested along with seven men from the Wigan and Leigh area in a joint operation by the RSPCA and police at Old Laithe Park, Bracewell, following a tip-off.
The court heard how members of the group were observed by RSPCA officers for 50 minutes on an established badger sett with two spades and 13 dogs, one of which was wearing an electronic tagging device so it could be traced underground. Neither of the cleared men were identified in RSPCA evidence.
Mr Clive Reece, defending the nine, said the pair only came across the badger sett when they were looking for two missing dogs. He said they feared one of them was stuck underground, and were using the locating device to see if they could find it.
In statements read out in court, the two Barnoldswick men said they were on the land at the request of the owner, who had been having trouble with foxes.
Mr Nuttall said the group had been beating through woods, making a lot of noise and were wearing distinctive clothing, which did not suggest they had planned any illegal activity. Prosecutor Mr Mark Love claimed they only acted in that way to make sure nobody would complain while they were digging for badgers. The week-long trial is expected to conclude today.
- Burnley Today - May 13, 2005
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