Sissen: wait for verdict

Sissen: wait for verdict A report in Cage & Aviary Birds week ending 25. November 2000

JAILED bird keeper Harry Sissen must wait to find out whether he will be released following his appeal case in London last Friday.

The breeder of endangered parrots, who was jailed for two and a half years last April for illegally importing birds, was told by Lord Justice Kennedy that an announcement concerning the verdict would be made in due course.

During the two-and-a-half-hour hearing the three appeal court judges heard Sissen’s barrister, Simon Farrell, argue that if an offence of illegally importing birds took place anywhere it was in Austria, as it was there that the parrots were brought into the European Community.

He also argued that Customs &,Excise officials misled Sissen numerous times during taped interviews by telling him incorrectly that the burden of proof of innocence lay with him.

However, Simon Draycott, for Customs, claimed that by returning to the UK Sissen brought the offence back with him, even though the birds remained in Austria, and that Harry was only too willing to talk even before Customs misled him.

Simon Farrell also appealed against the severity of the sentence

(Website comment to appeal proceedings: I am not surprised the Appeal Court judges will ponder for a while over the grounds for the appeal. Even to a layman such as myself it is clear that this case, which could now become a landmark case, could have serious implications for adjudicating on criminal activities within the European Union. You only have to substitute trafficking in drugs or illegal immigrants for illegal importation of rare parrots)

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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)