Farmer wins appeal to overturn animal welfare charge conviction

A farmer from Northern Ireland and his employee won their appeal to overturn a conviction relating to an animal welfare charge in recent months.

Both men were originally charged with causing a bovine animal to be transported in a way likely to cause injury or unnecessary suffering to it.

Stephen Smyth – from Madden Road, Keady, Co. Armagh – was transporting an animal for Patrick McParland – a farmer from Brootally Road, Co. Armagh – to an abattoir in Northern Ireland with a jeep and trailer.

The case was initially heard on January 24, 2017, in Armagh Magistrates’ Court. Despite both men pleading not guilty, they were convicted of the charge.

Each man was fined £500 (€577) as well as a £15 (€17.30) offender levy at the time.

However, an appeal process was launched by both parties and a hearing date of November 17, 2017, was finally confirmed.

Upon the hearing of said appeal, Newry County Court ordered that the appeal be allowed and that the order of Armagh Magistrates’ Court be reversed and quashed, a statement from the Northern Irish court service confirmed.

At the time of the initial conviction, it was reported that the official veterinarian at the abattoir in question had claimed that an animal belonging to the farmer could not bear its full weight on all four legs – something which the farmer vehemently denies.

Speaking to AgriLand, the farmer – Patrick McParland – denied any wrongdoing and expressed his satisfaction that his name and that of his employee had been cleared.

Concluding, he said the outcome of this appeal proves that this case should never have gone to court.