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Game keeper cleared of wildlife crime offences

Shooting news.
He pleaded guilty to a fifth charge, possession of rifle ammunition in excess of that authorised on his certificate, and was sentenced to a conditional discharge for 12 months.

He said: ?Despite being misconceived from the outset, this prosecution attracted considerable media attention, appearing in a number of national newspapers. I am understandably relieved that it is to go no further and now intend to put this whole unfortunate affair behind me.?

The judge at Norwich Magistrates Court decided that most of the evidence on which the prosecution was based was such that it would have been unfair to admit it.

Mr Parker?s solicitor, Tim Ryan, of Knights solicitors, said: ?An example of the difficulties the prosecution faced was that Mr Parker was charged with possession of a shotgun without a certificate, despite the fact that he had held a shotgun certificate for nearly 30 years, which was itself in the Crown?s possession and an exhibit in the case!?

Regarding the excess ammunition charge, Mr Ryan said: ?The excess ammunition arose when Mr Parker purchased rounds of a type that he was lawfully permitted to have, but over the amount he was authorised to hold; an honest mistake, but one he accepts that he should not have made and for which he has taken full responsibility.?

Mr Parker, who was represented in court by BASC council member Peter Glenser, had been employed as head gamekeeper at the 25,000 acre estate since 2008.

He had previously worked as a gamekeeper on various estates for more than 20 years with an unblemished record.

After the original allegations were made in October last year, he was put on gardening leave.

He told Shooting Times magazine he resigned from his position six months later because of the pressure on both him and his family.

He also said he was appalled at the allegations relating to the illegal killing of wild birds.

He said: ?I have never been involved in such offences, and am proud of the conservation work I was responsible for at Holkham. I am also proud of the amount of game we produced, and particularly English partridge.?

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