May 10

The first week of Bobby Waugh's trial concluded at 4.15pm today.

The prosecution witness testimony was provided by MAFF vets, Mr Mansley, Mr Dring and Dr Alexandersen from Pirbright.

Mr Jeremy Stuart-Smith QC (JSS) cross-examined the witnesses during the late afternoon. However, several details of interest have therefore gone unreported. This is due to the fact that the Press Association (and several local journalists in attendance) have had to regularly leave the court early in order to file copy for publication. On Thursday, proceedings finished at 5.15pm.

However, the graphic video footage, shown the previous day, showed one particular dead pig. This was later confirmed in court as having been put down by MAFF vets.

Of particular interest was the lengthy cross-examination by JSS of MAFF vet Mr Jim Dring. From a practical farming point of view, Mr Dring's evidence came under close-scrutiny in relation to the licensing of Mr Waugh's premises. Burnside had received its annual license inspection by Mr Dring on 24th January 2001 and received its official renewal on 30th January 2001.

Having seen the video evidence the previous day and the extremely untidy state of Burnside Farm, Mr Dring was continually requested by JSS, to explain as to how he had continued to licence the premises, and to explain as to how he had continued to file his six-monthly reports, over a number of many years, by 'ticking' the box marked, 'Satisfactory'

JSS went through the various requirements of the licensing procedure that Mr Dring had continued to mark as being, 'Satisfactory' . Mr Dring also confirmed that it wasn't unusual to find cutlery and crockery in pig pens, especially where the animals were fed on a (processed) swill-fed diet. Mr Dring also confirmed that he had authorised Mr Waugh to feed his pigs on unprocessed swill on Friday 23rd of February, as the pigs were subsequently due to be slaughtered over the weekend.

The video of the pigs and the cutlery within the pig pens was taken on the following day, Saturday 24th February. JSS suggested to Mr Dring that the unprocessed swill fed on 23rd February, containing various pieces of crockery and cutlery, had therefore resulted in various items being found in Mr Waugh's pens and troughs on the 24th February. But not all.

JSS also suggested to Mr Dring that he knew on or about 24th January, that Mr Waugh was feeding his herd by 'bailing' the swill into troughs, by bucket, rather than by pipeline-feeding. JSS suggested that Mr Dring had been informed on 24th January by Mr Waugh, that the pipeline system used to feed the pigs had 'frozen-up' and that the pigs were being fed by bucket. Mr Dring consistently denied that he knew of this arrangement.

On further cross-examination, Mr Dring stated that he had taken home a dictated statement that had been previously recorded (written) by Mr George Bird. Having taken the original statement home, Mr Dring rewrote the statement in order to use his own words to reflect greater accuracy of detail. Mr Dring, being a vet of 26 years experience, wanted his own precise wording and felt that George Bird had not accurately reflected Mr Dring's expert observation and interpretation.

Later in the afternoon, in open court, Mr Dring could not recollect as to how, in the previous written statement taken down by Mr George Bird, that the bucket-feeding operation was mentioned.

On Friday morning, Mr Dring gave further evidence. Later, Dr Alexandersen of Pirbright, who was in attendance at Burnside on Saturday 24th February 2001, gave expert evidence on the virus, spread and dating of lesions. Mr Dring is due to continue his expert evidence next week.

This report is from a Northumberland-based agricultural journalist, Bruce Jobson.