Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Third Pre-Trial Hearing for "Anne the elephant" Court Case

Posted: 29 March 2012. Updated: 17 April 2015


This Friday morning at a pre-trial hearing at Corby Magistrates Court, Northants, Bobby and Moira Roberts will lay out their defence on charges that they failed in their duty of care to protect Anne the elephant, who was filmed by ADI being beaten and kicked by a worker at their winter quarters in Polebrook last year.

Jan Creamer, ADI’s Chief Executive said: “Few people will be able to forget the undercover footage that we obtained of Anne and other animals being beaten at the winter quarters last year and we hope to see justice finally served for her.

“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 licensing system for wild animals in circuses.”

The hearing, which will be attended by ADI representatives, follows a previous hearing in February which saw the legal team of the circus owners criticised by the Magistrate after failing to submit all their defence statements. It will also be the last opportunity for their team to advise whether they plan to attempt to challenge the video evidence, as the Magistrate had noted that he would take a “dim view” of it if a challenge were attempted during the actual trial.

Bobby and Moira Roberts, owners of Bobby Roberts Super Circus, are charged with offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in relation to the mistreatment of Anne. Anne was originally removed from the wild and sold to the circus.

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 Anne’s mistreatment.

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.

A two day trial has now been set starting on the 18th June 2012 at Corby Magistrates Court, then the following day at Kettering Magistrates Court.

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