He won't be going behind bars
A poacher who was convicted after police read a ‘WhatsApp’ chat has avoided jail. Earlier Shooting Times reported the conviction of Mark Bond of Maidstone in Kent. Bond was found guilty of illegally killing a fallow deer and of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. The cruelty offence related to a terrier which was found with injuries consistent with badger digging. (Read the full story on the WhatsApp poacher here.)
At a sentencing hearing magistrates Bond’s probation officer told the court that jailing him would lead to ‘heartbreak’ for his family which includes two young children. Bond’s solicitor also argued that he should not be imprisoned claiming that despite his ‘not guilty’ plea Bond now admits what has happened and is sorry. She said “He is sorry for what happened to the deer and admits it is a hobby which got out of hand.” adding “Since that day he has never engaged in the hobby.”
Magistrates sentenced Bond to jail, but then suspended the sentence, meaning that he will not be imprisoned unless he commits another offence. They also ordered his three dogs to be confiscated and banned him from keeping dogs for 10 years.
Bond’s WhatsApp messages were found as part of a separate animal cruelty investigation which involved a number of offences against horses, including the abuse of an eight month-old pony at Appleby horse fair.
The cruelty charges related to a badly bitten terrier, for which Mr Bond did not seek veterinary attention.