28 August 1998

Fined for animal cruelty, but no ban

RENFREWSHIRE farmer John Harper was fined £2000 on animal cruelty charges this week at Paisley Sheriff Court.

But Mr Harper escaped a possible prison sentence and was not banned from keeping livestock because the sheriff was not told of a previous conviction in 1995 for similar offences.

At that time he was fined £3000, ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service and warned that any recurrence would lead to disqualification. On Monday, sheriff Ronald Smith was told there was no record of previous convictions.

James Morris, chief executive of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, condemned the outcome. "With this mans previous record, he should at least have been banned from keeping livestock for a considerable time," he said. &#42