The appellant pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the restriction on the importation of wild birds. The appellant was concerned in smuggling 23 wild birds from Thailand. The appellant and another man arranged for wild birds of prey to be exported from Thailand secreted in plastic tubes concealed in two suitcases. The appellant arrived at Heathrow airport with the two suitcases and was later arrested by Customs officers. Twenty-three wild birds of prey, six of which were dead, were found in the suitcases. The birds which survived had suffered asphyxia and hypothermia as the result of being transported in the hold of the aircraft. The birds were a protected spaces. Sentenced to 22 months' imprisonment.
The case presented a difficult sentencing problem as little guidance could be found in decisions of the Court in respect of the offence. The offence was a serious one which merited imprisonment, because it caused suffering to the birds, and it was carefully and deliberately planned.
The appellant's co-defendant was commercially motivated. It was said that the appellant's co-defendant had exercised a degree of influence over him and, for that reason and in view of the appellant's plea of guilty, the Court considered that the proper sentence was 15 months' imprisonment.
Prison sentence reduced from 22 months to 15 months.
The appellant pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the restriction on the importation of wild birds.
Court of Appeal