Sissen loses appeal but soon to be free

"Sissen loses appeal but soon to be free." A report in Cage & Aviary Birds for the week ending 16th December 2000

Jailed birdkeeper Harry Sissen has had his appeal against his conviction for illegally importing birds dismissed.

The three Justices at London’s Court of Appeal handed the case down their verdict in a 29-page document published exactly the Justices three weeks after hearing deputations from barristers for both sides on points of law.

However, the court did decide to reduce his sentence from two-and-a-half years to one-and-a-half, making him eligible for parole at Christmas.

And in another twist to the case the Justices headed by Lord Justice Kennedy, allowed Harry Sissen’s lawyers leave to appeal to the House of Lords as the case against him rests on a point of law of general public importance. (Website editor note: my understanding is that he was refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords. However, it may still be possible to appeal to the Lords using a much more complicated and longer procedure)

After hearing the court’s verdict Harry Sissen shouted from the dock: "Money is all that counts in this country." His family made the 500-mile round trip by train, but missed the l0am hearing by minutes.

The Justices backed the trial judge’s description of the offences as "a devious and elaborate scheme to smuggle birds into the country".

But they opted to "tailor the sentence more to the circumstances of the offender in view of his age, the fact that this is his first prison sentence, (and) his financial position" saying "18 months imprisonment is sufficient"

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 " Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret "

( If you drive out nature with a pitchfork, she will soon find a way back)

Horace (65-8 BC)