Cumbria Crack

Lake District farmer’s osprey appeal hearing adjourned for a month

Carlisle Crown Court

A LAKE District farmer’s appeal against his conviction for disturbing rare ospreys has been adjourned for a month due to difficulties with a video link to a witness in Thailand.

Paul Barnes, 59, was found guilty last August of two offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Mr Barnes was deemed to have recklessly disturbed a pair of rare ospreys raising young chicks in a nest close to Bassenthwaite Lake in June, 2017, while leading a party of schoolchildren on an educational trip on part of his farm.

Mr Barnes’s appeal against that conviction began at Carlisle Crown Court on Wednesday this week.

An appeal panel of a judge and two magistrates has heard how, in a police interview, Mr Barnes claimed suggestions he’d done anything illegal were both “outrageous” and “disgraceful”.

As the appeal hearing continued earlier today (FRI), a witness called by Mr Barnes’ legal team began giving evidence over a video link from Thailand, after which the farmer himself was due to go into the witness box.

But a problem with the video link meant the witness was unable to complete his evidence and the hearing was halted.

Judge James Adkin, sitting with two magistrates, adjourned the case to February 26. On that date, all remaining evidence – including that of Mr Barnes – is due to be given before the appeal panel announces its ruling.

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