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Old 21st March 2020, 08:25 AM   #241
TragicMonkey
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
50%.

He either delivered a fatal blow, or he did not.
I don't think that's how probability works. I either climbed Mount Everest in a Pikachu costume last night, or I didn't. Would you say it's a 50/50 chance either way?
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Old 21st March 2020, 08:28 AM   #242
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I don't think that's how probability works. I either climbed Mount Everest in a Pikachu costume last night, or I didn't. Would you say it's a 50/50 chance either way?
First, let me ask...

Is climbing Mt. Everest within your powers?
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Old 21st March 2020, 08:46 AM   #243
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
First, let me ask...

Is climbing Mt. Everest within your powers?
There are no laws of physics preventing me from doing so.
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Old 21st March 2020, 09:15 AM   #244
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Nonsense. A cricket bat is not designed for delivering a blow with the end of the bat. Depending on how the fox was caught, it could have been very awkward to swing the bat at it at all; a baseball bat would have been more suitable; something like a hammer, ideal. Delivering a blow sufficient to kill a fox, first time, is not a given.
Good thing there was a court inquiry and due process in examining the actual evidence.

Quote:
I also find it odd that it’s assumed that it’s also just a matter of physics; I would personally find it very difficult to kill any animal by hitting it. Not through any particular belief, but simply through natural squeamishness.
So? Don't project your personal squeamishness onto other people as if it's evidentiary.

Quote:
Rolfe has a lot more than personal feelings on a matter like this.
I haven't seen it. Her whole argument seems to be personal feelings, personal anecdotes, and appeals to personal authority. She flatly rejects any attempt (such as rockinkt's) to compare her claim of personal expertise to the processes and findings of the actual court inquiry.

The whole point of a court inquiry is to determine if there's more than personal feelings on the subject. And the question is tested pretty rigorously. Rolfe's claim to more than personal feelings has not been tested. Quite the opposite: She rejects attempts to make such a test.

You simply saying there's more to it doesn't mean it's true. Where's your evidence?

Right now, Rolfe is claiming to know so much about these things that she knows better than an actual court inquiry what really happened. And she knows this without seeing the evidence shown to the court. And her evidence for this claim is simply another claim to expertise in these matters. Which is also un-evidenced.
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Old 21st March 2020, 09:22 AM   #245
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
There are no laws of physics preventing me from doing so.
You could have medical conditions which prevent you from climbing that mountain. If so, the probability is enormously effected.

Shall we proceed with the assumption that you are healthy and it is within your powers to climb Everest?
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Old 21st March 2020, 09:28 AM   #246
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There was no court inquiry or due process involved. There was only the RSPCA saying they'd done a post mortem and nothing to see here guys. Amazing how the attitude flips right round when it's a prominent member of the establishment and not some random gamekeeper.
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Old 21st March 2020, 09:30 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I don't think that's how probability works. I either climbed Mount Everest in a Pikachu costume last night, or I didn't. Would you say it's a 50/50 chance either way?
I'd say it's close enough for this discussion.

The actual court inquiry into the evidence can probably refine it into "preponderance of evidence" or "beyond reasonable doubt", but at the level we're talking about it, 50% seems like a decent rough estimate. Did you have an argument that depended on a more precise estimate?
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Old 21st March 2020, 09:31 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
There was no court inquiry or due process involved. There was only the RSPCA saying they'd done a post mortem and nothing to see here guys. Amazing how the attitude flips right round when it's a prominent member of the establishment and not some random gamekeeper.
My bad.

I'll stop flogging the court inquiry argument.

Had no idea it was randos all the way down. Sorry 'bout that.
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Old 21st March 2020, 10:03 AM   #249
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As pointed out before, the RSPCA is a charitable organization with royal patronage that on its own has no legal authority or police or investigative powers - or any special prosecutorial privileges, either. The act that formed them (which reads like an article of incorporation to me) merely says that as an organization they will work within the law.

From what I've read about them, it appears they do win the vast majority of the cases they actually do choose to prosecute, but typically they take to court less than half a percent of those they supposedly "investigate."

So, overall, they may know their stuff and be generally recognized and respected for what they do, but theirs would not be a legal decision but rather a lawyerly opinion as to whether they would even have a case for the court.

Jolyon Maugham apparently voluntarily allowed them to do their investigation.

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Old 21st March 2020, 10:04 AM   #250
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
50%.

He either delivered a fatal blow, or he did not.


I'm either the president of the USA or I'm not.
Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
There are no laws of physics preventing me from doing so.
Other laws might be in the way.
Quote:
Mount Everest has shut down for the rest of the expedition season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Nepal's government announced that it would cancel all climbing permits from 14 March until 30 April.

China had already cancelled expeditions from the northern, Chinese-controlled, side of the mountain.
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Old 21st March 2020, 10:20 AM   #251
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
I'll make this better for you.

He delivered a fatal blow.
He did not deliver a fatal blow.
Planet X.

33.33%
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Old 21st March 2020, 10:30 AM   #252
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Jolyon Maugham would have been an idiot to keep them out. He'd already damaged his reputation badly enough with the tweet about killing the fox; the only thing he could do when it all went pear-shaped was co-operate. The RSPCA often calls in the police if people won't co-operate and the police almost always oblige.

I know how this works. The RSPCA took the body and gave it to someone to do a PM. Their choice as to whom. Could have been one of their own vets, someone in a charity clinic with no pathology training or experience. I've known them do that often enough to save money, and then fall on their faces when an independent PM was done on behalf of the person they were persecuting.

Their usual modus operandi is to solicit a damning PM report so they can prosecute, and indeed they win most of their prosecutions because the people they go after usually don't have an adequate defence. When there's a genuinely competent defence it's a different story. I never lost a case when I did a defence against them. (Mind you I never lost a case when I did a prosecution for them either. I go with the side that has the evidence.)

I don't know where this "only 0.5% of investigations go to court" comes from. What is being classified as an investigation? They are incredibly keen to take people to court. Their fundraising strategy relies on the constant mantra that "animal cruelty is on the rise give us your money!" The RSPCA inspectors get promoted according to how many prosecutions they bring. I have heard tape of them rejoicing when they found an abused animal, rather than being shocked, because they could get a prosecution out of it. The stories I could tell of people who were either well-meaning but ill-informed or just plain struggling for money or indeed had done nothing wrong who were absolutely persecuted by RSPCA inspectors would fill a book.

This one is just so much the flip-side of their usual modus operandi. It's wonderful to be a barrister.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 11:43 AM   #253
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Er in this matter Rolfe is an authority.
Even if that's the case, I have no way to verify it, it has no bearing on the fact that there's been nothing more presented than evidence free, anecdotal claims. Is that considered skepticism? The organization involved are experts too, why would I ever take Rolfe's claims over theirs? Is she more of an expert than them? She has yet to provide any evidence supporting her claim that don't include the words "I believe". If you believe her, fine. I don't. I don't need to, and I'm more inclined to believe the people that do this, currently, for a living and that actually had eyes on the body of the animal. I didn't even realize this was a controversial stance as anyone just making claims based on their own expertise would be dismissed as well.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 11:51 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
I'll make this better for you.

He delivered a fatal blow.
He did not deliver a fatal blow.
Planet X.

33.33%
I can only assume this is meant to be a joke.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 01:03 PM   #255
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Nonsense. A cricket bat is not designed for delivering a blow with the end of the bat. Depending on how the fox was caught, it could have been very awkward to swing the bat at it at all; a baseball bat would have been more suitable; something like a hammer, ideal. Delivering a blow sufficient to kill a fox, first time, is not a given.

I also find it odd that it’s assumed that it’s also just a matter of physics; I would personally find it very difficult to kill any animal by hitting it. Not through any particular belief, but simply through natural squeamishness.

Rolfe has a lot more than personal feelings on a matter like this.
Quote:
The prominent remain-supporting lawyer Jolyon Maugham QC has announced on Twitter that he clubbed a fox to death on Boxing Day morning, while wearing his wife’s satin kimono and nursing a hangover.

“Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat,” the barrister tweeted just after 8am. “How’s your Boxing Day going?”
Source
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Old 23rd March 2020, 01:37 PM   #256
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Originally Posted by Shepherd View Post
As pointed out before, the RSPCA is a charitable organization with royal patronage that on its own has no legal authority or police or investigative powers - or any special prosecutorial privileges, either. The act that formed them (which reads like an article of incorporation to me) merely says that as an organization they will work within the law.

From what I've read about them, it appears they do win the vast majority of the cases they actually do choose to prosecute, but typically they take to court less than half a percent of those they supposedly "investigate."
Your terminology is a little bit confusing. In the American court system, only the state can prosecute a criminal case. Civilians can report crimes, and "press charges" i.e., cooperate with the state prosecutor by presenting their testimony as the basis for the charges the prosecutor will bring against the defendant.*

In a civil trial, the prosecutor is the civilian accuser. But civil trials don't carry criminal penalties.

So when you say that the RSPCA chooses to prosecute, do you mean they choose to pursue a civil complaint in court (is that even a thing, in UK jurisprudence)? Or do you mean they actually act in the stead of a state prosecutor, in a criminal trial? Or do they report a crime to the state prosecutor, and then the state pursues a criminal trial?

---
*For many criminal cases, the accuser's cooperation is not needed. Once the crime has been recognized by the state prosecutor, the state can proceed with prosecution even if the accuser recants or withdraws.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 02:53 PM   #257
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They have no prosecution powers beyond that of all individual citizens, what they do is instigate private prosecutions however they deliberately try to give the impression they have police like powers.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 03:38 PM   #258
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
They have no prosecution powers beyond that of all individual citizens, what they do is instigate private prosecutions however they deliberately try to give the impression they have police like powers.
In my province - British Columbia, Canada - certain members of the SPCA are appointed as Special Constables under the Police Act.
They therefore have all the powers afforded under the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Act to apply for search warrants to enter premises, seize animals, and lay charges (subject to the approval of the local Provincial Prosecutor).
Local police agencies are also obliged to assist them on request.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 03:44 PM   #259
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
They have no prosecution powers beyond that of all individual citizens, what they do is instigate private prosecutions however they deliberately try to give the impression they have police like powers.
This is still confusing to me. The term "private prosecution" isn't a part of the US criminal or civil court systems, and I have no idea how to map it onto the corresponding due process. Can you explain to me what a "private prosecution" is, in the UK system?
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Old 23rd March 2020, 04:26 PM   #260
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This is still confusing to me. The term "private prosecution" isn't a part of the US criminal or civil court systems, and I have no idea how to map it onto the corresponding due process. Can you explain to me what a "private prosecution" is, in the UK system?

It’s a fundamental building block of the English common law system are you sure you don’t have it?

ETA before I hit send I’ve just had a look at the Wikipedia entry and whilst you don’t have it at the federal level many states still seem to retain them: private prosecutionWP
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Old 23rd March 2020, 04:31 PM   #261
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Nonsense. A cricket bat is not designed for delivering a blow with the end of the bat. Depending on how the fox was caught, it could have been very awkward to swing the bat at it at all; a baseball bat would have been more suitable; something like a hammer, ideal. Delivering a blow sufficient to kill a fox, first time, is not a given.

I also find it odd that it’s assumed that it’s also just a matter of physics; I would personally find it very difficult to kill any animal by hitting it. Not through any particular belief, but simply through natural squeamishness.

Rolfe has a lot more than personal feelings on a matter like this.
She had the chance to give the facts as she knew them - but had none to give. All she has provided is feelings and guesses and conspiracy notions.

Just google "killed by cricket bat" and see how many humans are killed with them. ANY wooden object of that size and weight can be deadly when it collides with a skull at speed.

I am a former cop. I dare say I have been centrally involved in many more investigations of a far more serious nature than Rolfe has. Still, I can only give an opinion - but my opinion is not a fact. I would certainly not want to pretend I could predict an necropsy based on a mere tweet or newspaper story.

Speculation is only for times when the leads have dried up and you have to think outside the box. However, speculation is something that ultimately needs to be supported by evidence. As soon as you think your speculation stands by itself as a fact - you have lost the plot.


NOTE: It seems I was in error when I wrote "cricket bat". Being a mere plebeian colonial - it never crossed my mind that a high and mighty British gentleman would be caught dead with a baseball bat.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 05:17 PM   #262
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
It’s a fundamental building block of the English common law system are you sure you don’t have it?

ETA before I hit send I’ve just had a look at the Wikipedia entry and whilst you don’t have it at the federal level many states still seem to retain them: private prosecutionWP
I haven't read through all the state entries, but the first half of the list (or so) seems to consist of entries where the state has either gotten rid of the practice, or allow the practice only so far as private individuals bringing charges, but the state still has the sole privilege of prosecuting on those charges.

Is that your understanding of how private prosecutions work in the UK?
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Old 24th March 2020, 01:40 AM   #263
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As the Wikipedia article describes it yes.
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Old 24th March 2020, 01:44 AM   #264
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Originally Posted by plague311 View Post
My mistake for responding to what was written. Yes, it would be easier with a baseball bat, but the rest of my argument still stands.
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Old 24th March 2020, 01:54 AM   #265
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I haven't read through all the state entries, but the first half of the list (or so) seems to consist of entries where the state has either gotten rid of the practice, or allow the practice only so far as private individuals bringing charges, but the state still has the sole privilege of prosecuting on those charges.

Is that your understanding of how private prosecutions work in the UK?
This is an explanation of private prosecutions in the UK from the Crown Prosecution Service. It mentions that use of private prosecutions by the RSPCA.

The CPS may take over a private prosecution in some cases.
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Old 24th March 2020, 02:05 AM   #266
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Originally Posted by Elaedith View Post
This is an explanation of private prosecutions in the UK from the Crown Prosecution Service. It mentions that use of private prosecutions by the RSPCA.

The CPS may take over a private prosecution in some cases.
Interestingly, that link doesn't answer the central questions I have about private prosecution in the UK.

Are these criminal trials? Do they result in criminal convictions in the case of a guilty verdict? Are there state sanctions such as imprisonment, that result?

Is the prosecutor - the person who argues the case in court and seeks to prove guilt - an agent of the state? Do they represent the state's interest?
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Old 24th March 2020, 03:28 AM   #267
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Interestingly, that link doesn't answer the central questions I have about private prosecution in the UK.

Are these criminal trials? Do they result in criminal convictions in the case of a guilty verdict? Are there state sanctions such as imprisonment, that result?
Yes, yes, yes.
Quote:
Is the prosecutor - the person who argues the case in court and seeks to prove guilt - an agent of the state? Do they represent the state's interest?
No, no.
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Old 24th March 2020, 07:58 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
My mistake for responding to what was written. Yes, it would be easier with a baseball bat, but the rest of my argument still stands.
Your average youth can swing a baseball bat between 40-70 mph. I fail to even see how this is up for debate. Making contact with a thick, pre-treated wooden cudgel (probably about 70 mph) straight to the head is easily a death blow. Baseballs come off of a baseball bat at around 90mph, with an average of +/- 10 mph. How big is a fox's head? Much bigger than a baseball? Serious question.

Again, I'm fine with you guys claiming it's impossible, I just don't see anything to support your assertion other than "I just think, no".
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Old 24th March 2020, 10:10 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by plague311 View Post
Your average youth can swing a baseball bat between 40-70 mph. I fail to even see how this is up for debate. Making contact with a thick, pre-treated wooden cudgel (probably about 70 mph) straight to the head is easily a death blow. Baseballs come off of a baseball bat at around 90mph, with an average of +/- 10 mph. How big is a fox's head? Much bigger than a baseball? Serious question.

Again, I'm fine with you guys claiming it's impossible, I just don't see anything to support your assertion other than "I just think, no".
I'm not claiming it is impossible. I am claiming it is unlikely to have been accomplished at first attempt. Of course, a lot would depend exactly how the fox was trapped, and how easy it was to get a clean swing at it; that still leaves the issue of most people's reluctance to kill something, especially a reasonably large mammal.
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Old 24th March 2020, 10:23 AM   #270
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
I'm not claiming it is impossible. I am claiming it is unlikely to have been accomplished at first attempt.
Understandable, and we can just leave it at that.

Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Of course, a lot would depend exactly how the fox was trapped, and how easy it was to get a clean swing at it; that still leaves the issue of most people's reluctance to kill something, especially a reasonably large mammal.
I didn't get reluctance from him since he posted about it in Twitter, but I see what you're saying. I'm not a socio\psychopath or anything, but dispatching animals wasn't hard for us because they were either after you, or after something you had (chickens, small dogs, etc.). We'd never relish in it, but it's a necessary evil. I'd liken this to a raccoon and I know they can be taken out without much power.
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Old 24th March 2020, 11:30 AM   #271
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His tweet actually expressed reluctance.
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Old 25th March 2020, 08:50 AM   #272
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
His tweet actually expressed reluctance.
Oh, well. If you say so...then we're done here, right?
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Old 25th March 2020, 01:10 PM   #273
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We were done some time ago. I'm an expert with extensive personal experience in this type of case. I've given you my perspective. If you have some reason for disbelieving me, then that's up to you. No skin off my nose.
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Old 25th March 2020, 01:43 PM   #274
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
We were done some time ago. I'm an expert with extensive personal experience in this type of case. I've given you my perspective. If you have some reason for disbelieving me, then that's up to you. No skin off my nose.
The reasons I have for not believing you are the people who work for the agency, with the same amount of experience, that are saying your opinion isn't supported by the facts. It's nothing personal. I just straight up don't believe you over them, and I've seen absolutely no reason at all to change that other than you saying you're an expert and you're right. From everything I can tell, my approach is the skeptical one and I wouldn't believe anyone making unsubstantiated claims about any topic. Self professed expert or not.

ETA: You've also described the RSPCA as being aggressive in their attempts at prosecution, but are claiming they aren't in this situation because he's someone of note. That's a conspiracy theory plain and simple. Nothing more.
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Old 25th March 2020, 01:46 PM   #275
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
We were done some time ago. I'm an expert with extensive personal experience in this type of case. I've given you my perspective. If you have some reason for disbelieving me, then that's up to you. No skin off my nose.
How do you square your perspective with the perspective of the RSPCA? Especially given your portrayal of the RSPCA as an organization that aggressively (even unethically) pursues prosecution in cases like this?

I understand there wasn't a court inquiry, but the RSPCA did investigate this incident first-hand, yes? Don't you think that long experience + first hand knowledge trumps long experience by itself?
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Old 25th March 2020, 02:01 PM   #276
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In hindsight, it might have been easier to figure out than some other cases and that's why it came to this conclusion. I can't imagine it would be very complicated to tell if a smallish animal has been bludgeoned multiple times.

A single hit with a baseball bat would leave significant damage to an animal that small.
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Old 25th March 2020, 04:58 PM   #277
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You can't imagine? It was my job. I have done many such post mortems. I don't have to imagine.

The entire point I am trying to get across is that it is absolutely inconceivable that there was evidence that this fox was rendered immediately insensible by a single blow. I mean basically forget it. If it had been an ordinary backyard poultry keeper, the RSPCA would have had his arse in parsley.

However, it seems normal RSPCA modus operandi, which is pursue a prosecution with even the slightest evidence of unnecessary suffering, and frankly sometimes with none and sometimes against the report of the post mortem saying clearly that there was no suffering, is suspended when it's a prominent barrister involved.

Quelle surprise.
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Old 25th March 2020, 06:21 PM   #278
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Or maybe you're just wrong.
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Old 25th March 2020, 06:56 PM   #279
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Jolyon Maugham would have been an idiot to keep them out. He'd already damaged his reputation badly enough with the tweet about killing the fox; the only thing he could do when it all went pear-shaped was co-operate. The RSPCA often calls in the police if people won't co-operate and the police almost always oblige.

I know how this works. The RSPCA took the body and gave it to someone to do a PM. Their choice as to whom. Could have been one of their own vets, someone in a charity clinic with no pathology training or experience. I've known them do that often enough to save money, and then fall on their faces when an independent PM was done on behalf of the person they were persecuting.

Their usual modus operandi is to solicit a damning PM report so they can prosecute, and indeed they win most of their prosecutions because the people they go after usually don't have an adequate defence. When there's a genuinely competent defence it's a different story. I never lost a case when I did a defence against them. (Mind you I never lost a case when I did a prosecution for them either. I go with the side that has the evidence.)

I don't know where this "only 0.5% of investigations go to court" comes from. What is being classified as an investigation? They are incredibly keen to take people to court. Their fundraising strategy relies on the constant mantra that "animal cruelty is on the rise give us your money!" The RSPCA inspectors get promoted according to how many prosecutions they bring. I have heard tape of them rejoicing when they found an abused animal, rather than being shocked, because they could get a prosecution out of it. The stories I could tell of people who were either well-meaning but ill-informed or just plain struggling for money or indeed had done nothing wrong who were absolutely persecuted by RSPCA inspectors would fill a book.

This one is just so much the flip-side of their usual modus operandi. It's wonderful to be a barrister.

It would probably be somewhat reasonable to assume that a well known barrister would have the resources to be able to mount an adequate defense, though, as in could actually have a genuinely competent defense. So, if what you allege about the behavior of (some in) the RSPCA is true, if they were to actually follow that same sort of MO here, they would be at a great risk of finding themselves on the losing side of things and yet in a high profile case in which they could also potentially lose credibility in the public eye.

It seems to me, then, that it would truly be in their best interest to make absolutely sure they did have sufficient evidence of a crime before proceeding with a prosecution in this case, and according to the following quote it sounds like they did just that and so sought the input of proper independent experts - "a veterinary pathologist and a forensic vet" - before deciding not to prosecute.

Quote:
The charity announced on Thursday that after conducting an investigation, which involved independent experts, a veterinary pathologist and a forensic vet, Maugham would not be prosecuted. Its prosecutions department concluded the evidential threshold needed to bring a prosecution was not met as the findings suggested the fox was killed swiftly.

The RSPCA said: “When making prosecution decisions, we must be fair and objective and make them on the facts of each case.

“It is important to understand that it is not necessarily illegal to kill a fox, but if unnecessary suffering is caused, a criminal offence may have been committed.”
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...x-death-kimono

About the half a percent of cases going to court, I saw that figure in an online news article somewhere, though it may have been several years old. I also don't know how that was calculated, but if you look at the figures at the following link for 2017 and divide the number of actual defendants by the number of claimed investigations, it does look to be about 0.5%. (About 800 defendants and almost 150,000 claimed investigations.) They apparently had about twice as many convictions as defendants, though, so there would be some room to quibble over about another half a percent, I guess.

https://www.alaw.org.uk/2017/04/rspc...annual-report/

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Old 25th March 2020, 07:04 PM   #280
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Apologies if this was mentioned and I missed it, but what should Maugham have done when he discovered the fox?
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