Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Pre Trial Hearing For Anne The Elephant Court Case

Posted: 15 February 2012. Updated: 17 April 2015


‘Duty of care and responsibility of owners to be tested in landmark case’

Thursday 16 February, 10am: This Thursday morning at a pre-trial hearing at Corby Magistrates Court, Bobby and Moira Roberts will lay out their defence on charges that they failed in their duty of care to protect Anne, the circus elephant, who was filmed by ADI, being beaten and kicked by workers at their winter quarters in Polebrook. The defence will also advise magistrates whether they plan to attempt to challenge the video evidence.

ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer will attend the pre-trial hearing of this landmark case on Thursday. ADI’s detailed investigation into the welfare of Anne and other animals at the winter quarters of the Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus last year, led to the CPS taking up the case.

At long last, this case will finally be heard and those ultimately responsible for the management of the business will be scrutinized for their animal husbandry methods.

We hope to see justice served for Anne. This will be the first trial of a circus under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the case is extremely important, as it will test whether the intention of the Act, which is that owners are responsible for the daily life of their animals, can be upheld.

It will also be an important test of whether the Act can protect animals in circuses, as the UK government currently considers a ban on wild animal circuses.

At a preliminary hearing on 1 December 2011 Bobby and Moira Roberts pleaded not guilty to offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in relation to the mistreatment of Anne, who was the last remaining UK circus elephant. A two day trial has now been set starting on the 18 June 2012 at Corby Magistrates Court, then the following day at Kettering Magistrates Court.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 places on owners a duty of care to protect their animals from harm and to provide a suitable environment. Even if members of staff are employed, the owners are required to take ultimate responsibility for the care of these animals.

The duty of care of owners under the Act will be tested, and ADI will be watching with interest to see how the legislation will be interpreted and enforced.

© Animal Defenders International 2019