Jamie Gray appeared at Aylesbury Magistrates Court
today for sentencing. He had been found guilty in his absence at
Aylesbury Magistrates Court on
6th May 2008 of assault on PC Metcalfe
from Amersham and also guilty of criminal damage to an RSPCA van during
the raid on Spindles Farm on 4th January 2008.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault on PC Metcalfe but guilty to the charge of criminal damage to an RSPCA van, when he appeared at Aylesbury Magistrates Court on 4th February 2008.
Chloe Fordham of the progressive and forward thinking firm Furnival Chambers of London, defending Mr. Gray, told the court her client was suffering stress on the day of the raid, and was extremely upset because £160,000 of his valuable stock was being removed by the RSPCA.
"Surely these can't be the same animals that were kept in appalling conditions on the farm, and were in such a mal nourished state that they were described by the RSPCA as pitiful, I doubt very much that Ms Fordham would be defending Mr. Gray if she had seen any of the equines at the time of the rescue, 3 of them were so badly treated that they had to be put down immediately, I have seen some of these animals at The Horse Trust many times and watched their progress, Gladys arrived there in such a state that it took her 3 weeks to be able to stand unaided?"
A total of 111 horses and ponies and donkeys were removed to safety. 32 dead equines were also discovered on the farm by the RSPCA at the time of the raid. She went on to say “Mr. Gray had suffered a minor nervous breakdown two days later. This was a day when conditions contrived to make him behave in an inappropriate way.” She went on to tell the court “This is not characteristic of the behaviour of Mr. James Gray. He has no previous convictions for violence, and this is very unlikely to ever happen again. Mr. Gray is a family man, and also a business man who only wishes to be with his family and earn some money.”
Ms Fordham said “Mr. Gray had been prescribed “strong” medication by his GP which he is no longer taking.” She informed the court that “Mr. Gray had been suffering from depression, and had suicidal thoughts. He had been referred to a psychiatric facility for over two months and that his wife had been taking there, but he was alright now.”
Mr. Brian Saunders, the chairman of the bench, addressing Mr. Gray said “We are satisfied your offending is serious enough for a community sentence.”
Of the assault, he said PC Metcalfe was serving the public at the time in carrying out his duty in protecting the RSPCA officers at the farm. Mr. Saunders said “The mitigating feature presented by your barrister is that it was an impulsive action and he realised that there were no injuries sustained by the officer in question, and that emotions were understandably running high. He also accepted that stress was being caused to Mr. Gray and his family that day by the RSPCA investigation of animal cruelty on his farm.
Mr. Gray was spared a prison sentence, and instead given a community service order, and sentenced to 70 hours unpaid community service work for the criminal damage to the RSPCA van, which was reduced from 100 hours because the offender had pleaded guilty to this offence. For the assault on PC Metcalfe he was sentenced to do 180 hours unpaid community work over the next 12 months, he added if Mr. Gray failed to do this community work, he would be looking at a possible custodial sentence; the two sentences are to run concurrently.
Mr. Gray was also ordered to pay £100 compensation to PC Metcalfe, and also £100 for the criminal damage to the RSPCA van, as no costs had been submitted by the RSPCA, and also £455 court costs payable immediately.
Chloe Fordham asked for extra time to pay the fine, and he was granted 14 days in which to do so.
Mr. Gray was asked to see the Probation Officers at the court before leaving court to discuss what community work was to be done