Posted: 19 June 2012. Updated: 19 June 2012


Following a fifth hearing for legal arguments today at Kettering Magistrates Court, District Judge Chinnery ruled that the trial of Bobby and Moira Roberts is to proceed, but delayed until November. The charges relate to video recordings of beatings of Anne the elephant, taken by Animal Defenders International (ADI) investigators at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus winter quarters in Polebrook, in January and February 2011.

Mr and Mrs Roberts have been jointly charged with the following offences, to which they pleaded not guilty at the preliminary hearing of the case on 1 December 2011:

1. Causing the elephant to suffer unnecessarily, by requiring the elephant to be chained to the ground at all times, contrary to section 4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

2. Failing to take reasonable steps to prevent their employee from causing unnecessary suffering to the elephant, by repeatedly beating it, contrary to section 4(2) of the same Act.

3. Failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the needs of the elephant were met to the extent required by good practice, contrary to section 9 of the same Act.

Following a two-day hearing this week at Corby and Kettering Magistrates Courts, held under reporting restrictions, it was announced today that the case would proceed.

Tim Phillips, Campaign Director ADI: “We are delighted that Anne’s owners will finally face trial over the evidence we provided. This is the first test of the intention of the Animal Welfare Act, 2006, which was that owners can be held responsible for what happens to their animals. The investigation and case have been a daunting financial commitment for ADI, but this is an important case that will affect animals in years to come. We are delighted that it is now proceeding and hope there will be no further delays.“

The private prosecution was commenced by ADI on 18th July 2011 at Northampton Magistrates Court. In November, the CPS took over prosecuting the case.

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