SUMMARY  OF  BRECON  BEACONS  CASE

 23 JUNE   2001   FMD outbreak at Modrydd Farm, Libanus, Brecon  in valley at foot of Brecon Beacons

 Contiguous premises culled and some found with a few antibody positive sheep

 

 12 JULY  2001     One anti-body positive sheep on heft on Brecon Beacons

 

Decision to test all hefts on Brecon Beacons

 

27 JULY 2001   Decision to cull all 4000 sheep due to some 120 sheep being anti-body positive on one ELISA test

 

27 JULY 2001   Janet Hughes  tried to take out an injunction to prevent this cull but as she was not directly affected as a grazier was not legally able to do so.

 

In early AUGUST 2001  she purchased 10 hefted sheep from a grazier on a heft near Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon Beacons,  and the sheep remain there.

 

A letter was sent to Mr Carwyn Jones, the Minister for Rural Affairs,  National Assembly for Wales, informing him that Ms Hughes intended to apply for a judicial review of the decision to cull and continue to cull healthy sheep on a mass scale.  This letter was immediately passed on to DEFRA Legal Dept, London, and the Welsh Assembly refused to correspond or be responsible for the decision to cull the sheep, even though Mr Carwyn Jones was holding meetings in Brecon to encourage the graziers to sign the forms of consent.

 

10 AUGUST 2001   Because DEFRA were insisting on being the main defendant in the proceedings a letter was sent to them informing them of Ms Hughes'  intention to apply for a judicial review by 13 AUGUST.  The Department refused to provide details of plans for culling except that more culls were due to take place that weekend and that all the owners had signed the forms of consent.

 

13 AUGUST 2001   Application for injunction and judicial review made to the courts

 

16 AUGUST 2001   Judge ordered a hearing as soon as possible

 

After the judge made the order for a hearing no further mass culls took place on the Beacons, but by then nearly 20,000 healthy hefted sheep had been needlessly slaughtered, with only 120 or so having anti-bodies. No live virus.

 

21 AUGUST 2001   Permission hearing in the High Court, London at which permission was refused, and what Ms Hughes describes as "false evidence" placed before the judge by the CVO Mr J Scudamore. Barristers from both DEFRA and Welsh Assembly attended.

 

27 AUGUST 2001   Janet Hughes then made an application to the Court of Appeal to appeal the decision of Mr Justice Stanley Burnton for refusal of judicial review and for awarding costs to both DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly, even though permission was refused. The Civil Procedure Rules indicate that costs should not be awarded against the claimant at a permission hearing. ( civil procedure rules sent emailed separately).

 

27  AUGUST 2001   120 sheep culled which were owned by a grazier who had already signed the forms of consent.

 

DEFRA Legal Dept contact Janet Hughes' solicitor to ask if she were taking the case to appeal.  Solicitor informs them that she was doing so.

 

11 OCTOBER 2001   Judge makes an order for costs to DEFRA of £13,000 and to the Welsh Assembly, £3,800.

 

Funding runs out after spending £21,000 on legal fees from solicitor and barristers. Ms Hughes  continues on her own.

 

 

30 JANUARY 2002   Hearing at the Civil Justice Centre, Cardiff, Court of Appeal.

Barristers from DEFRA and Welsh Assembly present. Lord Justice Latham  refused permission for both an appeal and the extra evidence.

 

JULY 2002   Submission to the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France.  Decision is still awaited.

 

Last correspondence with Legal Dept, DEFRA,  April/May 2002, in which Janet Hughes informs them that the case, including costs issue, is being submitted to the European Court of Human Rights. No further correspondence from DEFRA.

 

5  NOVEMBER  2002  Unknown to Ms Hughes, DEFRA go the High Court to obtain a warrant for seizure of her possessions to the value of £17,000.  This information was provided  on 30 January 2003,  when Ms Hughes telephoned  the Sherriff’s Office in Cardiff,  two days after the bailiffs had arrived to list her possessions.

 

 

28 January 2003   Bailiffs arrive at her home without any notice informing her that they have come on behalf of DEFRA for costs of £17,000.  Ms Hughes refuses them entry to the house but they inspect the premises and list her car and her son Matthew’s toy jeep and quad bike, amongst other things, and any other belongings to the value of £17,000.  She has actually been charged interest running from 9 January 2001 instead of 11 October 2001, when the judge made the order.

 

The family now await the outcome of all this, but, says Janet Hughes, " DEFRA may be assured that I will not allow them to intimidate us as a family,   especially our son Matthew.  I have written to both DEFRA and the Sherriff’s office informing them that I am prepared to pay £30 per month but as yet I do not know if DEFRA will accept this. "

 She adds:

"We desperately need donations to help cover these costs, because I am not in a position to pay this vast amount, and whilst I do not believe that DEFRA are legally entitled to this money because in fact they manipulated their way into the case,  I do not wish to lose all our belongings. We are on minimum income guarantee, as my partner is retired and I am not in work at present, as I home-educate our son.  So far just over £1500 has been given  but more help is needed if at all possible. Donations may be made to ‘Save Our Sheep Appeal Fund’ and either sent to : Laurels Cottage, Churchstoke, Montgomery, Powys, SY15  6SR, or paid directly to the Nationwide Trust account  for the Appeal Fund, account number :  0863 /  703  560  350,   sort  code  070093,  main number  33333334."