Wilson, then a member of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, also admitted using snares illegally and possessing two bottles of carbofuran, a banned carbamate nerve agent used to poison birds of prey.
Sheriff Peter Paterson, sitting at Jedburgh sheriff court, said such crimes usually deserved a prison sentence. However, the Wildlife and Countryside Act allowed sentences of up to six months, and Scottish ministers had recently introduced a presumption against jailing offenders for less than 12 months.
“It highlights the difficulties with the legislation,” Paterson said. “If it wasn’t for this provision [on short-term sentences] then in my view a custodial sentence would have been appropriate.”
He ordered Wilson to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work, imposed a night-time curfew for 10 months and confiscated Wilson’s firearms and gamekeeper equipment.
Wilson’s solicitor, Colin Severin, had told the court that Wilson’s wife, who is 80, had dementia and required round-the-clock care.
Last year, Wilson was fined £400 and banned from keeping birds of prey for 10 years after admitting he had failed to protect a captive eagle owl in his care from suffering. Wildlife experts believe the owl, which was kept in filthy conditions in a pigsty, was used to lure other birds of prey to be killed.
Source: The Guardian
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