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The report from Day 11 follows -

The trial of Bobby Waugh continued on Friday 24th May at Bedlington Magistrates Court, Northumberland.

10.00am
A co-joint report had been compiled for the defence by Professor Penny and Dr Smith into veterinary and welfare matters relating to the evidence provided by the Prosecution. In order to save valuable court time, Mr Jeremy Stuart-Smith had suggested (in court) the previous day (Thursday) that the report be allowed to stand as evidence and copies could also be made available to members of the press with an appropriate embargo on its publication.

Mr Paddy Cosgrove, for the Prosecution, raised no objections at that time, but the following day, upon reflection and close-scrutiny, Mr Cosgrove objected to certain sections of the report that in his legal opinion contained "inadmissible evidence." Mr Cosgrove also questioned Professor Penny's status as an expert witness on certain matters in relation to his evidence.

JSS suggested that the report was admissible and quoted "Archbold" section 1061, "An expert report is admissible as evidence..etc." After deliberation, Judged Prowse ruled that Prof. Penny should give his evidence "in court" and requested JSS to establish the credibility of his expert witness.

At 10.49am, Prof. Penny swore the oath and took the witness stand. According to JSS, the list of eminent and international appointments contained in Prof Penny's CV would take too much of the court's valuable time and he would therefore place limits upon it. In response to each individual appointment held by Professor Penny, dating back to 1946, Professor Penny merely answered, "Yes." Twelve minutes later; 11.01am, Professor Penny (PP) began his expert evidence.

JSS requested PP to provide the court with evidence related to matter of lameness with the pig population, especially, sows. PP said that from 300,000 sows culled annually, 10-11% of sows were culled each year due to lameness.

On the subject of frequency of foot lesions, PP said that a report compiled from evidence taken within two abattoirs had suggested that 64% of pigs suffered from foot lesions. The frequency of lameness was higher in swill-fed units such as Burnside Farm because a) swill was acid - highly acid between 4-5. b) concrete floors contain limestone and acid eats concrete and therefore exposes the sharp aggregate to the animal's feet and snouts.

Questioned on the state of the concrete floors at Burnside Farm, PP stated that the floors would have been "traumatic" for feet and noses causing the animals to have lesions and ulcers as they walked round and snuffled for food. Lameness could result in more than one hoof as a result of the claws being a 'mirror-image". In swill-fed units, on occasions, lesions could be seen on 2, 3 and 4 feet. JSS asked whether PP had ever seen cases of horn being shed from a claw other than by FMD. PP produced a photograph for the court's benefit of a pig that had shed it's horn by a combination of natural wear and tear, environmental and bacterial infection.

PP said that pigs often 'huddled" together and "piled" in order to keep warm as they do not like cold weather. He said that pigs do not have a "hide" and are exposed to the elements more than other animals. The video-evidence taken at Burnside Farm on the 24th February could indicate the pigs were suffering from mild hypothermia because of the very cold weather.

On the subject of identification of FMD, PP said that the disease was easier to identify in cattle and more difficult to identify in sheep, with identification in pigs being between the two species. JSS pointed out to the court that only 36 of the first 73 cases in the FMD outbreak of 2001 had been reported by owners.

JSS questioned PP as to the requirements of a vet in regard to licensing inspections and in particular the inspection carried-out by MAFF vet Jim Dring at Burnside Farm on the 24th January 2001. PP said that a vet had a responsibility to look after animals in his care and that responsibility extended to licensing and welfare issues. An oath had to be sworn by anyone entering the veterinary profession to that effect.


At 2.23pm Mr Cosgrove cross-examined Professor Penny on behalf of the Prosecution.

Mr Cosgrove acknowledge Professor Penny's "distinguished and eminent" career and suggested that PP should accept "in total" the evidence provided by Dr Kitching and Dr Alexanderson to which PP replied, "Of the disease, yes." PP said he did not know if Pirbright had evidence in relation to the rate of horn-growth and other welfare and veterinary matters.

Mr Cosgrove asked PP if he was suggesting that renowned world experts were unable to accurately identify as to the causes of lesions and of the different rates of horn growth to which he replied, "I consider they might be." Mr Cosgrove enquired if that answered suggested "incompetence"? PP replied, "No."

PP suggested the MAFF booklet that contained various photographs presented as evidence in court, did not mention the size, age and weight of sows and that was a relevant factor. "In my experience and in my interpretation of the literature, scientists can be wrong," he said. Mr Cosgrove suggested that PP had delivered a slur against the world renowned experts that had provided evidence to the court. PP replied, "It is a criticism, not a slur."

Mr Cosgrove suggested that Professor Penny was giving expert evidence but that the evidence was not objective. PP refuted the allegation and stated his evidence was objective. Mr Cosgrove repeated his suggested that PP was being paid by the defence to provide evidence in court. Mr Cosgrove further reminded him that he was giving evidence under oath. Professor Penny appeared stunned at the allegation and following a scathing riposte added, "I am a churchgoer. And the oath means more to me - than it may to some others."

Mr Cosgrove said that 12 day old lesions had been found on pigs at Burnside Farm on the 24th February 2001. This would have taken the dating of the lesions to the 12th February and the infection must have been present prior to this date. PP doubted this evidence and said, "35 of Mr Waugh's pigs had been sent to Cheale Meats on the 15th February. They were inspected (on the 16th February) prior to slaughter and after (anti and post-mortem) nothing was found. No lesions were found and they were hung up on a hook."

Professor Penny added that he did not believe that FMD had started at Bobby Waugh's farm, to which Mr Cosgrove replied, "I did not ask you that question."

Court proceedings finished at 3.55pm.

Court resumes on Monday 27th May with the resumption of defence evidence provided by Dr Smith. A verdict is expected on Thursday 30th June.