I was shocked to read of Michael's ordealand so, so happy to hear that he was acquitted. Anyone who has ever spoken to Michael will know that he is as honest as the day is long and it is truly disgusting the way he has been treated. DEFRA is a blight on our countryside and the majority of people who work for it seem to lack honesty, compassion and commonsense. How can that be?
After the slaughter of his animals and the way he was treated by vets during FMD, Michael suffered dreadfully from depression and found it hard to pick himself up again. As you know, I helped him write a complaint to the RCVS, but all to no avail, needless to say. This recent business must have knocked him for six all over again, with all the stress and worry of a court case. I'm going to send him some flowers and a card tomorrow. At least he's been cleared! Hooray!
From warmwell's front page for January 7 and 9 2004
Jan 9 ~ "put through hell"
The Western Morning News yesterday:
"....Westcountry farmer Michael Pedrick, who was cleared of trying to cheat MAFF out of nearly £17,000 following the foot and mouth crisis, says his life was made hell by Government officials.Many of us will remember Sir Humphrey Appleby's complacent smirk "An internal inquiry Minister" . Many, many other livestock owners were put through hell in 2001 by the ignorant bullying of officialdom. What happened to their animals was even more hellish. As for the vets, so many of whom appear to have colluded in cruelty, the RCVS may not choose to condemn the widespread breaking of the veterinary oath - but it will not be forgotten.
Mr Pedrick's solicitors, Taunton-based Clarke Willmott, are lodging a complaint against a Defra official following a bizarre scene after the court case on Tuesday. Mr Pedrick had just been acquitted of attempting to obtain a valuable security by deception from the then Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF). The solicitors allege that a female vet approached the 63-year-old farmer and wagging a finger in his face, told him: "You are a very lucky man to get off."....
.....Defra last night refused to comment on the outstanding money which Mr Pedrick claims is still owed to him or the allegation against a female vet. A spokesman said: "Any complaint is dealt with thoroughly but internally."
Jan 7 ~ "This was a heavy handed prosecution by Defra of a farmer struggling to cope with the foot and mouth epidemic."
Western Morning News (new window) reports the dramatic aquittal of the case of alleged fraud. ( DEFRA has justified its delays (see below) by alleging fraudulant claims.)
"....A farmer accused of trying to cheat the Government out of nearly £17,000 during the foot and mouth crisis has been dramatically cleared. After legal submissions by his counsel at Exeter Crown Court yesterday, Michael Pedrick was found not guilty of attempting to obtain a valuable security by deception from the then Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF). Following legal arguments by barrister Adam Vaitilingam in which he said there was no case to answer against Mr Pedrick, Judge Ian McIntosh directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict saying that it would be unsafe to take the matter further. After the acquittal, Mr Vaitilingam said: "This was a heavy handed prosecution by Defra of a farmer struggling to cope with the foot and mouth epidemic....See Mr Pedrick's story
Mr Pedrick's solicitors are now lodging a complaint with Defra over an alleged incident which occurred after the case yesterday involving a woman Defra vet. A statement issued by Clarke Willmott Solicitors said: "We were most surprised by the actions of the Defra vet who was a witness in these proceedings. We understand that she gesticulated at Mr Pedrick and was aggressive towards him, stating to him that 'he was a very lucky man' after the case had finished. We do not consider such action to be appropriate and will be submitting a formal complaint on Mr Pedrick's behalf." .... "