THE TRIAL of Greyhound killer David Smith was dramatically deferred at the 11th hour last Friday (January 19th) amidst fears for Smith’s safety from the hundreds of protesters who were planning to demonstrate outside the Durham court where the case was due to be heard.
Smith was on trial as a result of a private prosecution brought by the Environment Agency.
As reported previously, Smith is accused of ‘depositing non-specific controlled waste without a licence’ on July 12, 2006 and the allegation relates to him burying dogs in a makeshift graveyard behind his home in Northdene Terrace, Seaham, County Durham.
The case follows media revelations last July, that Smith had used a captive-bolt pistol to shoot greyhounds, brought to him by trainers and others involved in the greyhound racing industry, and then buried their bodies on his land. He was said to have slaughtered 10,000 dogs over a 15-year period.
Police investigated Smith’s activities, but could not charge him for animal cruelty or illegally killing the dogs, as he had a valid licence for the use of the captive bolt gun with which he dispatched the dogs. However, he was eligible to be charged by the Environment Agency for illegally burying the dogs on his land without a licence.
Greyhound Action North-East (GANE), a newly-formed branch of the greyhound welfare group Greyhound Action, set up to cover North-East England, organised the demonstration outside the court in order to draw attention to the issue and to call upon the public not to attend or bet on greyhound racing, so that it withers away through lack of financial support.
No new date has yet be set or announced for Smith’s trial, although it is widely believed that it will be kept secret and held at short notice to wrong-foot protesters.