8th March 2016
In April 2014 BCT reported on the conviction of Hargudial Singh RAI and ISAR Enterprises Ltd for destroying a roost used by brown long-eared bats in Matlock (read story here)Shortly after that date both Mr Rai and his company ISAR Enterprises lodged an appeal against conviction. Appeal hearing dates were set and adjourned on a number of occasions. Mr Rai is a director of ISAR Enterprises Ltd.
On Monday 7th March 2016 His Honour John Burgess sitting at Derby Crown Court heard the matter. ISAR Enterprises, on legal advice, abandoned their appeal. In so doing they accepted their guilt. Mr Rai then applied for and was successful in having his conviction quashed. The hearing then went on to consider a Proceeds of Crime Order which seeks to ensure that offenders do not benefit financially from their criminal behaviour. In this case it was agreed by both sides that the financial benefit amounted to £5730.
In passing sentence His Honour Burgess commented that the offence in question had not been intentional but was, "at best" negligent. He also commented that the offending was carried out by a small company in financial difficulty and whilst not of the most serious was by no means of the least serious nature. He fined ISAR Enterprises Ltd £3000, and ordered them to pay £2000 costs. He also made a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act in the sum of £5730.
It is our view that this case is the most significant conviction for bat crime ever recorded. Not only is it the first occasion where such a case has been heard in the Crown Court but to our knowledge it is the first time that a proceeds of crime application has been heard in relation any wildlife crime not involving the illegal trade in endangered species. A strong message is being sent to developers to the effect that they cannot, in future, expect to benefit from criminal behaviour.
There are many people to thank for their involvement in this case. In particular the Investigating Officer PC Emerson Buckingham and the financial investigators of Derbyshire Constabulary, Andy McWilliam of the National Wildlife Crime Unit and Rod Chapman, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service. Finally thanks must go to all the witnesses involved in this case.
Bat Crime Investigations http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/bat_crime_investigations.html
Contact: Joe Nunez firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 820 7168 for more information, images and interviews. (Out of hours: 07984 545 531)
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