CHATTERIS: RSPCA pursue £31,000 fine against pony breeder, issued four years ago

PUBLISHED: 10:42 19 January 2009 | UPDATED: 08:50 02 June 2010

ROGER BARRETT

ROGER BARRETT

THE RSPCA are set to take their case against a Chatteris man to the county court as they look to finally recover a fine of more than £31,000. Roger Barrett was fined a total of £31,291.41 in June 2004 for causing unnecessary suffering to three ponies. Bar

A PONY breeder could pay more than £31,000 in costs to the RSPCA when he sells his home – or when his home is sold after he dies.

Roger Barrett was ordered to pay £31,291 to the charity in June 2004 for causing unnecessary suffering to three ponies.

Barrett, of High Street, Chatteris, lost an appeal against the order a year later and planned – but never went- to go to the High Court for permission to appeal.

The RSPCA, unhappy with an earlier proposal to pay off the costs at a rate of £5 per week – which would have taken 120 years to recover the sum - now wants to take the case to the county court. They hope to recover the money from Barrett “when the property is released”.

Barrett found himself back before Fenland magistrates on Friday for a further hearing when Jason Stevens, prosecuting, said: “The RSPCA incurred substantial costs keeping the horses and treating the horses through the investigation.

“The court finds itself with a large debt outstanding in their files. It’s a bit of an eyesore and they would like to see it done away with.

“I don’t suggest repossession; a release when the property is transferred would be the normal way all debts are recovered.”

Barrett, 70, was given a two-year conditional discharge after pleading guilty to ill-treating the ponies, which were kept at his farm at Goosetree, Guyhirn.

One pony was in such a poor condition it had to be destroyed, another had a huge abscess on its hoof and a pregnant mare was emaciated.

The court ruled however that Barrett, a breeder whose animals had won international competitions, was unlikely to reoffend and the ponies were returned.

David Chapple, defending, said: “Quite extraordinarily and quite wrongly the court then imposes what is effectively an extremely draconian penalty on someone who has just been imposed with a conditional discharge.”

Barrett was ordered to pay legal costs of £10,181 and £21,110 compensation to the RSPCA for treatment, boarding and transporting the ponies.

Sue Morris, chairman of the bench, said Mr Stevens deserved the right to apply to the county court for “having the courtesy of coming back” to Fenland magistrates.

She said: “Because it is such an important issue we are going to allow Mr Stevens to make his application to the county court and, subject to what happens there, we will allow him to come back if appropriate.”

Stevens to make his application to the county court and, subject to what happens there, we will allow him to come back if appropriate.


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