Login Register

Swan case vet rounds on accusers

A VET cleared of deliberately destroying a swans' nest has sounded a warning to his accusers.

A VET cleared of deliberately destroying a swans' nest has sounded a warning to his accusers.

Timothy Briggs told me he was eager to take action against a small number of villagers. 'There is a small syndicate of local people who have defamed my character by ringing my practice and the Press,' he said.

'I am not a vindictive person but I shall be pursuing the matter. They will have to account for their actions.'

'This has been weighing heavily on my mind for a long period of time.

'If I had lost I would have had to face a disciplinary hearing which could have resulted in suspension or I could have been struck off. My livelihood would have gone.'

Mr Briggs was cleared following a three-day trial at Chester Magistrates' Court where he was acquitted of two charges under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Mr Briggs, 49, hugged his family after deputy district judge Gerallt Jones ruled he could not be sure Mr Briggs destroyed the nest.

The family man, a senior partner at the Nantwich Veterinary Group, was charged with sabotaging the nest of the protected species on two occasions in March of last year. He denied both charges.

After Wednesday's verdict Mr Briggs said: 'I am very pleased justice has been done.

'I was not in any doubt of what the outcome should have been.'

Mr Briggs, of Bunbury Lane, Bunbury, said he was 'absolutely shocked' the issue went to court and the proceedings had placed a strain on him. It had been a 'very worrying thing'.

He added: 'My name has been defamed. I hope I never go to court again. I'm now off for a drink.'

Mr Briggs also praised the media for their 'restraint' in covering a case which attracted national newspaper and TV attention.

Mr Briggs' celebrated his court victory on Wednesday night with a pint at the Yew Tree Inn in Spurstow with fiancee Debs Welch.

He said the nests he was accused of destroying could have been ruined by mink or foxes in the area.

'I knew I was 100% innocent and the prosecution evidence was totally unreliable,' he said.

'But the Crown Prosecution Service pursued the matter relentlessly.'

Mr Briggs spent £8,000 defending himself and hopes he will get the money back via the Crown.

Bosses at Mr Briggs's practice celebrated after hearing of the court's ruling.

Senior partner Brian Wilson said: 'We are absolutely delighted.

'We knew all along he was completely innocent.

'It was a complete waste of public money. He was subjected to worry, legal expense and had to get a top barrister from London.'

Mr Wilson, of Haughton, near Bunbury, added: 'Had he been found guilty he would have had to face the disciplinary committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

'How can the country be so mad to waste public funds on such a matter?

'I hope people will have the sense to accept that the court came to the proper decison.'

He added: 'This is an enormous weight off Tim's shoulders. The man has been worried sick.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
Contact Us
Full contact details