Tuesday 16th June 2009 - Aylesbury Crown Court
James Gray who was jailed last Friday, was released today from Woodhill Prison near Milton Keynes after serving 4 days of a 6 months sentence for animal cruelty.
After a short bail hearing at Aylesbury Crown Court today, Judge Christopher Tyrer heard submissions from Nigel Weller acting for Mr. Gray, and also from Iain O’Donnell acting for the RSPCA. The judge described the case as substantial and although the appeal would not take as long as the original 50 day trial it would last many weeks and would take some time to prepare for.
James Gray was immediately released from Woodhill Prison and has returned home to Spindles Farm, Hyde Heath, where the cruelty took place by order of Judge Christopher Tyrer, the only condition of his bail is that Mr. Gray is not to keep or have any dealings with horses. James Gray was not in court to hear the good news.
Judge Christopher Tyrer said the whole case will have to be heard all over again, this time with a Judge and Justices. He also said it is not fair and jurisprudence in this country and Europe, for a person to serve a sentence before an appeal is heard. District Judge Vickers suspended all elements of the sentence until after the appeal.
While the case is ongoing, the fate of the animals removed from the farm is still undecided.
Because James Gray has appealed (and because his prison sentence was a short one) and the fact that he is likely to only serve half of the 24 week sentence, the law dictated that he had to be released on bail pending the appeal.
I can assure anyone that might be concerned, that today's event is in no way a victory for James Gray...it's just a general, legal formality that no judge had the power to overturn.
Immediately after the sentencing on Friday 12th June 2009 at Aylesbury Magistrates Court, legal representatives for all 5 lodged appeals against both convictions and sentences.
An appeal start date has been set for Monday 11th
January 2010 at 10am at Bicester Magistrates Court, sitting as Aylesbury Crown
Court. The appeal is expected to be heard before a special sitting of a
Crown Court judge and two magistrates, and is listed for 5 weeks.