QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|CORNWALL COUNTY COUNCIL||(CLAIMANT)|
|ROGER NORMAN BAKER||(DEFENDANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
The DEFENDANT did not appear and was not represented
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"An Act to enable provision to be made for the care, disposal or slaughter of animals to which proceedings under section 1 of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 relate; and for connected purposes."
Section 1 provides:
"(1) Sections 2 to 4 apply where-
(a) a person who is mentioned in subsection (3) (referred to in this Act as 'the prosecutor') has brought proceedings for an offence under section 1 of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 (referred to in this Act as 'the 1911 Act') against the owner of the animals to which the offence relates; and
(b) the proceedings have not been discontinued or otherwise disposed of.
(2) But those sections only apply in relation to an animal which the owner keeps or has kept for commercial purposes."
Subsection (3) provides that the persons referred to in subsection (1) include a local authority.
"(1) If, on the application of the prosecutor, it appears to the court from evidence given by a veterinary surgeon that it is necessary in the interests of the welfare of the animals in question for the prosecutor to do one or more of the things mentioned in subsection (2), the court may make an order authorising him to do so.
(2) Those things are-
(a) taking charge of the animals and caring for them, or causing or procuring them to be cared for, on the premises on which they are kept or at some other place;
(b) selling the animals at a fair price;
(c) disposing of the animals otherwise than by way of sale;
(d) slaughtering the animals, or causing or procuring them to be slaughtered.
(3) In determining what to authorise by the order, the court must have regard to all the circumstances, including the desirability of protecting the owner's interest in the value of the animals and avoiding increasing his costs.
(4) An order under this section ceases to have effect on the discontinuance or other disposal of the proceedings under section 1 of the 1911 Act; but this is without prejudice to anything done before, or done in pursuance of a contract entered into before, the order ceases to have effect."
"On the submissions made we found the following:-
(a) The 'animals in question' under Section 2 of the Act means 'the animals to which the offence relates' under Section 1 of the Act and thus relates to the seven animals the subject of the informations.
(b) As the seven animals to which the offence relates had already been destroyed we dismissed the application."
"If, on the application of a person who is mentioned in section 1(3) and who has brought proceedings for an offence under section 1 of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 against the owner of the animals to which the offence relates, and the proceedings have not been discontinued or otherwise disposed of, it appears to the court from evidence given by a veterinary surgeon that it is necessary in the interests of the welfare of the animals in question, being animals which the owner keeps or has kept for commercial purposes, to do one or more of the things mentioned in subsection (2), the court may make an order authorising him to do so."
So read, there is no room for ambiguity. In other words, in my view the wording of the statute carries with it the clear intention that the animals in question are those which are the subject of the criminal proceedings.
"In many cases the long title may supply the key to the meaning. The principle, as I understand it, is that where something is doubtful or ambiguous the long title may be looked to to resolve the doubt or ambiguity, but, in the absence of doubt or ambiguity, the passage under construction must be taken to mean what it says, so that if its meaning be clear, that meaning is not to be narrowed or restricted by reference to the long title."