Bruce Jobson reports on the Heddon on the Wall verdictThe verdict of the Bobby Waugh trial was delivered today at Bedlington Magistrates Court.
It is not my place to pass judgement upon the wisdom of Judge Prowse on his ruling. However, when giving his ruling, there appeared to be not only several inaccuracies contained within his ruling but also several inconsistencies.
That opinion was shared by many members of the press who were gathered at the court. It should be said, that some of the journalists who expressed this opinion had been in attendance at Bedlington on a regular basis. And to be fair to those journalists, they had remained totally objective throughout the trial.
Several could not believe what they were hearing and everyone was stunned at the inference of using food from Chinese restaurants. Bobby had not collected or fed Chinese swill and Judge Prowse's comment was made all the more incredible by the fact that during 2001, the Government had compensated the local Chinese community to the sum of £20,000. Several hardened journalists were stunned.
The graphic video footage that has been aired on television tonight was taken on Saturday 24th February. In his own defence, Bobby stated that his pigs were "desperate" by that day. However, on Friday 23rd, MAFF had used Bobby's sawdust to make a disinfectant mat across the road and prevented him from bedding up his pigs. The pigs had been "bled" for analysis, dragged through the pens and were covered in pig-muck.
The pigs had been fed unprocessed swill on Friday evening on the direction of Jim Dring - and no one criticises him on that in the circumstances - but the following day - Saturday - the video was taken showing the pigs covered in muck, "desperate" and unprocessed swill left lying in the troughs. The swill was undoubtedly left in the troughs because the pigs weren't used to eating uncooked swill. And any person that has worked with farm animals realises that you cannot stop, chop and change diets. Animals loose weight. And Bobby was in the business of fattening pigs.
However, the video taken on 24th February, did not reflect the welfare and conditions of the animals on Thursday 22nd February. The video gave a false or worse, impression of what conditions were like on Burnside Farm at the time of the alleged offence.