Sissen released from prison

"Sissen released from prison". Report in 20th January 2001 issue of Cage & Aviary Birds.

Jailed bird keeper Harry Sissen has been released from prison after serving eight months of his 18-month sentence. The noted breeder of endangered parrots was granted parole in time to spend Christmas with his family at home in North Yorkshire.

He was jailed for 21/2 years in April after being found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court of illegally importing three Lear’s macaws and six blue-headed macaws into the UK.

His appeal against the conviction was denied after a hearing last November, but the sentence was reduced by a year.

And the Court of Appeal justices granted him leave to appeal to the House of Lords on a point of law. The Lords will decide whether crossing a European Community border with a bird can be considered an offence in Britain.

February 5 had been set for confiscation proceedings at Newcastle Crown Court, at which the fate of 69 of the parrots seized by Customs & Excise in two raids on the Sissen family farm in 1998 will be decided.

This may be followed by condemnation proceedings, at which Customs will lodge a claim for £404,000, which it claims is the amount to which Harry Sissen stands to benefit by his breeding work.

But both hearings depend upon the Lords’ judgment, and may not take place if the House rules in his favour.

At Wetherby Prison, where he spent seven months of his sentence, he was put in charge of the prison aviaries and bred from cockatiels, budgies and canaries.

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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)