WHEN COCKERELS (OR THEIR OWNERS) GO BAD
Just when you thought peace had broken out in Selkirk, Scots Law News‘ favourite cockerel, Charlie (see Nos 595 and 704), is back on our pages again as his owner, Ozzie Williamson, has been charged with breaching a court order.
Mr Williamson had been given four weeks to put up a lightproof shed to house Charlie and curb Charlie’s over-enthusiastic morning greeting. During this district court hearing the Justice of the Peace, Andrew Bramhall had warned Mr Williamson that To breach an order to allow the cockerels out within [the proscribed] times would be the subject of criminal proceedings. It would then become a police matter.” (see http://www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/news/Curfew-is-imposed-on-Charlie.3509993.jp )
Mr Williamson has allegedly failed to build the shed and the police have been involved. A report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal. For a full report see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/7188881.stm (date 15 January 2008). The report also tells us that Charlie is 4 years old.
A jury sitting in Dumfries Sheriff Court unanimously found Andrew Thompson from the town guilty of recklessly throwing a hamster and other objects from his top flat window in a verdict given on 15 January 2008. There is speculation as to the nature of Mr Thompson’s offence in relation to the hamster (see James Chalmers at http://criminalletters.blogspot.com/2008/01/oh-ye-cannae-fling-hamsters-oot-third.html and the comments). Mr Thompson was also convicted of repeatedly attempting to attack a police officer with a knife. In the period before sentencing Mr Thompson can take some solace in his acquittal (on a not proven verdict) on the charge of assaulting a police officer by throwing a bottle at the officer and attempting to hit him.
The hamster is reported to have died shortly after the events complained of: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/7189756.stm.
On 10 January 2008 Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced the membership of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, established by the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 and likely to come into operation in October 2008. The first chair will be Jane Irvine, the current Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman and former Lay Inspector of Constabulary (handling police complaints). Her colleagues on the Commission come from both within and outwith the legal profession.
The lawyer members are David Chaplin (the client relations partner at Anderson Fyfe); Professor Alan Paterson from the University of Strathclyde (who is also a member of the Judicial Appointments Board and the Council of the Law Society of Scotland); David Smith (the former chairman of Shepherd and Wedderburn; and Margaret Scanlan (of Russells Gibson McCaffrey and former deputy chair of the Scottish Legal Aid Board).
The non-lawyer members are Ian Gordon (retired Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside Police); George Irving (former Director of Social Work North Ayrshire Council); Dr Linda Pollock (former Executive Nursing Director), and Douglas Watson (a committee member of the Law Society of Scotland, and a police officer).
Anticipating the introduction of the new Commission, Jane Irvine said:
This new Scottish Commission is an important body. It will provide a modern system for resolving complaints about legal services that both the profession and public can have confidence in. I am delighted to have been appointed with such a strong group of commissioners who bring with them a diverse and exceptional range of skills and experience.”
The government press release is at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2008/01/10100426