AN animal cruelty trial involving the owner of a rescue centre in Burton has been delayed by the ‘unacceptable’ inactivity of those acting on her behalf.
Lindsay Newell, 27, was due to begin a five-day trial at Burton Magistrates’ Court this morning, after denying charges that she caused unnecessary suffering to animals at the Burton Wildlife and Rescue Centre.
But as the court sat to hear the case, it was revealed that there was missing witnesses, missing information and a complete lack of confidence from the defence, leading District Judge David Taylor to the conclusion he was unable to deal with the case fairly.
Henry Spooner, defending, said work had only started on the case in December, after Newell, of Lincoln Road, Stapenhill, secured legal aid – despite the fact she had been told by the court to start planning her own case.
He added: “She accepts she should have done that, but she was simply concerned that if there was any chance she could get professional help, she wished to have it.”
Newell was charged in November 2012, following a raid by police, trading standards and the RSPCA on the rescue centre she owns in Etwall.
She faces 30 charges of causing suffering to animals including a lamb, a goat, a ewe, a pony, and an adult ram.
She initially denied the charges in July, and the trial was organised for a time which was convenient for all parties, it was claimed.
Judge Taylor said: “I accept that before December 20 she didn’t have the benefit of legal aid, but that doesn’t mean that a defendant or representatives can go about ignoring what courts say, just because they are hopeful of getting a response. That makes a nonsense of the whole system.
“I ask myself what steps have been taken to progress the case. I answer almost none.
“This is a woman who has been hoping upon hope that she could get some help to deal with a complicated case and has stuck her head in the sand until that help has been available.”
He adjourned the case until 10am tomorrow, demanding answers from Mr Spooner so he could determine whether or not the trial could go ahead.