On 21 March 1997, R Hill & Co's cattle were stolen by Procurator Fiscal David Howdle. David Howdle orchestrated the removal and unbelievably the sale and destruction of R Hill & Co's entire herd prior to any criminal proceedings, disregarding with total disdain an 85 year old statute and the rule of law.
David Howdle libelled a charge of cruelty to animals at common law in a petition that sought warrant permitting the entire herd of cattle from Powhillon farm to be removed and either sold, slaughtered or destroyed. Cruelty to animals is not a common law crime as recorded in Shepherd v. Menzies, 1900 2 F 443. As per Lord Kyllachy's judgement, which was an opinion held by Lord Justice-Clerk, Lord Trayner and Lord Moncreiff: “It has of course to be assumed that cruelty to animals is an offence,—that is to say, a crime. It is not so at common law, but it is made so by the Statute 13 and 14 Vict. cap. 92”. ....'Refer to last paragraph of third sheet (which has page number 445)'
Theft in Scots Law is defined as the wrongful appropriation of the property of another, with the intention of permanently depriving the other person of his or her possession. David Howdle intentionally deprived R Hill & Co of ownership of their cattle via illegal means and ensured that they could never be returned. The actions of Procurator Fiscal David Howdle and Sheriff Fletcher are also monumental in Animal Welfare Law. David Howdle's petition ignored the rights of the true owners of the cattle (R Hill & Co) and the warrant as craved effectively means that animals have rights at common law in Scotland. However the case isn't referenced anywhere and is unreported. The following passage details the events and corruption and criminality.
As stated by Lord Kyllachy, cruelty to animals is not a common law offence and was only made so by Cruelty to Animals (Scotland) Act, 1850 (13 and 14 Vict. cap. 92), sec. 11. When R Hill & Co's cattle were stolen the Cruelty to Animals (Scotland) Act, 1850 had been replaced by the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912. Section 3 of the 1912 Act clearly states that the court can only deprive a person of ownership if found guilty and if it is proven that an animal would be subject to further cruelty if left in the care of the guilty person. Also considering that the warrant application came before any criminal proceedings the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912, Section 11 only permits a police constable the rights to remove the animals.
As written by Mike Radford and published by Oxford University Press; Animal Welfare Law in Britain, Regulation and Responsibility, Chapter 14, F:Seizure of Animals: "However, the only circumstances in which statute provides that an animal can be seized solely in the interests of animal protection is where a person having charge of it is arrested by a police constable for an offence of cruelty. In these circumstances the police (but only the police) may take charge of the animal(s) and deposit them in a place of safe custody until the termination of any legal proceedings or the courts order their return. If the matter goes to trial, it takes several months for the case to be resolved, and there is always the possibility of further delay arising from procedural complications or a subsequent appeal. Unless the owner voluntarily relinquishes ownership in the meantime, the animal remains their property, and cannot therefore be rehomed. Furthermore where significant numbers of large animals are involved, such as might be the case where the allegation of cruelty is against a farmer, looking after the animals can present very real logistical difficulties."
No officers of Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary had ever arrested or charged Danny as written by Chief Inspector Kate Thomson. David Howdle clearly knew that cruelty to animals was only a Statutory offence because the very next day, David Howdle as complainer, served the complaint against Danny and it only contained statutory offences. David Howdle dropped common law altogether. David Howdle's motivation for his actions was because he despised Danny Quinn for shooting birds and his hatred was made even more so after he made Danny infamous following his [Howdle] failure in 1993 to prosecute Danny of intentionally shooting "protected" wild geese. David Howdle's hatred continues to this day and on 19 July 2014 two officers (Peter Meechan, shoulder number 80, and Gillian Carson, shoulder number 178) from Police Scotland tried to charge Danny with Breach of the Peace after a complaint was randomly raised by David Howdle that Danny had threatened him and his family. After interviewing Danny the police officers accepted that it was fabricated and walked away. Wasting the time of the police by a false story is itself a common law crime as made so by Kerr v. Hill, 1936 J.C. 71 and yet David Howdle was never charged.
There is a fundamental principle in criminal law in Scotland and Internationally. It is 'nullum crimen sine lege'/'nulla poena sine lege' - there should be no crimes or punishments except in accordance with fixed, predetermined law. Also as written by Sir Gerald H. Gordon, Criminal Law, Second Edition, published by W. Green & Son Ltd: "the declaratory power can be exercised only by the High Court, and probably only by a quorum of that court"". In our terms Procurator Fiscal David Howdle and Sheriff Fletcher could not invent their own law when they stole R Hill & Co's cattle. Their powers at common law were extinguished by statute which clearly stated the cattle could only be removed after the owner was found guilty and if it is proven that an animal would be subject to further cruelty if left in the care of the guilty person.
David Howdle petitioned Dumfries Sheriff Court on Tuesday, 18 March 1997 to grant warrant permitting the entire herd of cattle from Powhillon farm to be removed and either sold, destroyed or slaughtered. The application was raised under Section 134 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, 'Incidental Application' and was sought prior to any proceedings by complaint. No criminal actions had began and R Hill & Co were totally unaware of David Howdle's complaint. The petition contained no Statutory enactment and was therefore libelled at Common Law. With reference to Lord Justice-Clerk's judgement, Jamieson v. Dow 2 F 24:
An incidental application created in summary proceedings is basically just a written application for a warrant. Normally the Prosecutor, petitions the court to allow them to search or apprehend, something or someone which might be of importance but which is not essential to a complaint or possible complaint. An 'Incidental Application' is usually considered in private which means the aforementioned rights can be obtained unopposed, without the accused knowing the details of the crime they are alleged to have committed.
The Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (c. 46) states the following;
(1) This section applies to any application to a court for any warrant or order of court
(2) An application to which this section applies may be made by petition at the instance of the prosecutor in the form prescribed by Act of Adjournal.
In his petition, the fiscal alleged that he had received credible information that Daniel Quinn was responsible for the welfare of the cattle had solely failed to tend for, feed, obtain and provide veterinary services and provide adequate and sufficient shelter for the cattle. No-one had been charged at the time of the warrant hearing therefore Procurator Fiscal David Howdle was asking Sheriff Fletcher to take him at his word and allow him to remove and unbelievably sell, destroy or slaughter the entire herd of cattle from Powhillon farm without the owner's consent, based on hear-say and without any guarantee that the accused would be subsequently charged or prosecuted thereafter.
Under the terms of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, Section 134 this meant that the decision lay with the Sheriff who had to determine whether or not the court had the power to grant warrant. Sheriff Fletcher rejected the application on 18 March 1997 and called for a further hearing on Thursday, 20 March 1997. The Sheriff ordered that a copy of the petition be intimated to Danny and requested that he be instructed to attend the court on the aforementioned date. At 17:30, on Wednesday, 19 March 1997 a sergeant from Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary visited the farm and told Danny that he had to attend Dumfries Sheriff Court at 09:30 the following day. No petition was presented to Danny and the only information the sergeant could give him was that Sheriff Fletcher had ordered his attendance.
Danny appeared before Sheriff Fletcher on 20 March 1997. Also in attendance was Deputy Procurator Fiscal Bob Morrison. The petition was read out in court after which Danny expressed his view to Sheriff Fletcher. Danny couldnt believe that (1) they were going to remove the entire herd of cattle for the reasons given, and (2) they regarded him as being solely responsible considering the facts that the cattle were owned by R Hill & Co and that farming a tenanted holding is an ongoing working relationship between tenant and landlord. Danny denied that he had ever claimed to be solely responsible for farming Powhillon and for the welfare of the animals. Danny also reminded Sheriff Fletcher of his judgement on 3 October 1996 and its relevance and how it implicated Sheriff Fletcher in the present action. After listening to both parties the Sheriff adjourned the hearing and Danny took the copy of the petition signed by Procurator Fiscal Depute Bob Morrison. On Friday, 21 March 1997 members of the Scottish Office Ministry Veterinary Service turned up with several Quad bikes and 12 animal haulage lorries and proceeded to remove all cattle from Powhillon Farm. Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary were also in attendance where police officers held back R Hill & Co members claiming that the authorities had a signed warrant to remove and sell all of the cattle. A warrant was never served on R Hill & Co (the true owners of the cattle) or indeed Danny. All that had been obtained was the copy of the petition, that Danny took from Deputy Procurator Fiscal Bob Morrison at the end of the hearing the previous day.
Corrupt Crown Office
Eventually in March 2002 we got a copy of the warrant. If you read this story in conjunction with both the disposal of the case and the charges against Danny, you will start to understand how malicious and calculated the Procurator Fiscal’s conduct was from start to finish.
R Hill & Co have pursued this matter for years but we have had doors slammed in our faces and been bounced from Crown Office to Dumfries Sheriff Court to Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary to Local Procurator Fiscal’s office. Basically no-one is willing to prosecute the prosecutor in Scotland.
We got close once on 2 November 2002, when Inspector Alan McCulloch accepted a written statement and documented evidence from R Hill & Co alleging that Procurator Fiscal, David Howdle had wrongfully and illegally removed R Hill & Co’s cattle from Powhillon farm. By 18 November 2002, David Howdle reported himself to Deputy Crown Agent, Bill Gilchrist and the police investigation was stopped. The police claimed they couldn’t investigate any further because the Deputy Crown Agent was reviewing the allegation. Bill Gilchrist was asked to hand the matter back to the police but refused to do so. On 21 March 2003, R Hill & Co received a response from him which stated that in his 'professional opinion there was absolutely no substance to the allegation that any member of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service committed a crime in connection with the events relating to the cattle'. Almost a year earlier R Hill & Co had tried to get the Crown Office to investigate the matter but they refused stating that criminal conduct was a matter for the police to investigate.
We also tried petitioning Nobile Officium but the judge at sift was Lord Turnbull who was Advocate Depute at the time Procurator Fiscal David Howdle and the Crown Office stole the cattle. Lord Turnbull ruled that animals have rights at common law and refused to grant leave for the petition.
The simple truth is that the Crown Office and Scotland's Justice System is corrupt and because prosecution in Scotland is solely carried out by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), unless they want to prosecute one of their own, we are left to live with the knowledge that David Howdle is deceitful, a liar, and a thief and that we will never get justice.