RSPB ruffles feathers after Police drop charges against its Vice President

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds facing embarrassing questions after Police decide not to press charges against the organisation’s Vice President, Professor Sir John Lawton

by the commentator on 30 November 2016 17:00


A leading charity which campaigns to protect birds is facing tough questions after cops withdrew charges against one of its leading members. Professor Sir John Lawton, Vice-President of the RSPB and President of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust had previously been charged earlier this month with “recklessly and intentionally” disturbing a bird of prey while it was in a nest containing its young.

The alleged incident occurred in Heslington (Yorkshire) in May last year and Sir John was initially charged by North Yorkshire Police on 11th October this year. Sir John was scheduled in court on 10th November but the case was pulled after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) consulted with the RSPB and North Yorkshire Police.

In a statement, North Yorks CPS told The Commentator:

“This case was initially charged by North Yorkshire Police on 11th October 2016. Prior to the defendant’s first appearance at court on 10th November 2016 the case was reviewed by North and West Yorkshires CPS wildlife lead.

“After consultation with North Yorkshire Police and the RSPB  it was agreed that whilst there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction it was not in the public interest to proceed with the allegation due to the defendant’s age and the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence.

“As a result no evidence was offered and the matter was concluded.”

The incident will come as a major embarrassment to the RSPB who have been demanding that the Government take more action to protect bird of prey and for raptor persecution to be tackled. In September 2010 Sir John published a major Government backed report “Making space for nature.

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