Sissen wins legal aid

A report in the 22.1.2000 issue of Cage & Aviary Birds reads as follows:

A report in the 22.1.2000 issue of Cage & Aviary Birds reads as follows:

A trial date has been set for famous parrot breeder Harry Sissen to appear before a Crown Court jury to face charges brought by HM Customs and Excise. Monday, March 20 is the date set for the start of the long-awaited, high-profile trial, which is already believed to have cost £1 million to bring to court.

With serious implications for all parrot keepers and widespread interest from all sides of the media, the three or four-week trial looks set to attract a large amount of publicity.

£37,000 decision

Harry’s cause was given a boost at his latest court appearance when the decision to deny him legal aid unless he paid the first £37,000 of costs was reversed.

Having represented himself at numerous preliminary hearings, he now has the services of a large firm of solicitors in London.

Harry, who has bred rare birds on his farm at Northallerton for 35 years, is charged with three counts of illegal importation of Lear’s macaws, one charge of illegal importation of six blue-headed macaws and two charges of illegally selling birds.

He has always denied the charges, which arise from a series of raids on his aviaries in April and May 1998 by Customs officials, when 139 birds were confiscated for DNA tests.

He was told recently that 16 of his rare birds have died since the raids. The remaining 123 confiscated birds are scattered around zoos and bird parks around Britain and Ireland.

The trial date was set at a second preliminary hearing at Teesside Crown Court in December. A final decision as to whether the trial will take place at Teesside Crown Court, in Middlesborough, or at Newcastle Crown Court has yet to be made.

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Quotes

 " 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)