Sissen appeal is backed by Hague

"Sissen appeal is backed by Hague". A report by Greg Meenehan in the issue of Cage and Aviary Birds dated 7th February 2004

Rare parrot breeder Harry Sissen is seeking permission to apply for a judicial review of the confiscation order that ordered him to forfeit 144 of his birds.

And he has enlisted the help of his MP and former leader of the Conservative Party William Hague in his fight for justice.

He is due to travel down to London to argue his case on February 13, to be allowed to try to overturn the appeal that went against him.

The Richmond MP has become very interested in Harry Sissen’s fight to get his birds returned, and told Cage & Aviary Birds: "I have asked for further details of the case, and am very sympathetic to Mr Sissen’s situation. He appears to have a strong case.

William Hague originally gave evidence for the prosecution at Harry Sissen’s trial to report what the 65- year-old farmer had said when he had consulted the MP about the case.

In November 2001, District Judge Roy Anderson found in Harry Sissen’s favour at a confiscation hearing at Richmond Magistrates’ Court.

He ruled that about 100 of the 144 birds should be returned to him, since they did not form the basis of any prosecution and were backed by DNA evidence proving that they had been bred by him.

However, Customs and Excise; appealed against that decision and that appeal was upheld at a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court.

Judge Guy Whitburn officiated at that hearing. He was the judge who sentenced Harry Sissen to two and a half years in jail at his Newcastle Crown Court trial in April 2000.

Judge Whitburn ruled that all of the birds should be forfeited because it was not possible to prove where every bird had originated.

This meant Mr Sissen would have to relinquish all claim on the rare and endangered birds seized in two raids in the spring of 1998.

They included some of the rarest in the world: Illiger’s macaws, a kea parrot, Goffin’s cockatoos, hawk-headed parrots, red-vented cockatoos, palm cockatoos, citron-crested cockatoos, Moluccan cockatoos, red-fronted Amazons, caninde macaws, scarlet macaws, Triton cockatoos and Buffon’s macaws.

When they were taken they were placed with zoos around the UK, but it is believed that as many as 59 of the birds may have since died, and few of the remainder have bred since being taken from their breeding enclosures at the North Yorkshire farm

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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)