Men accused of hunting badgers appear in court

Gavin O’Dowd with Gavin and Dean Fitzpatrick
Gavin O’Dowd with Gavin and Dean Fitzpatrick

THREE Dublin men accused of taking part in an unlawful badger hunt using an electronic device, shovels and tracking dogs have been given two months to decide how they will plead.

Gavin O'Dowd of Lambay Drive, Ballybrack, along with Dean and Gavin Fitzpatrick both of Coolevin, Ballybrack appeared at Dublin District Court today.

The young men each face prosecution on three charges under the Wildlife Act but have not yet indicated how they intend to plea.

In June, Judge John O'Neill made a discovery order and at that stage he had agreed to a defence request to adjourn the case to allow time for the prosecution to provide disclosure of evidence to the defence.

Today the three men appeared again in court and their barrister told Judge O'Neill that a two-week adjournment was sought. Judge O'Neill adjourned the case until a date in September and he said that they will have to tell the court how they intend to plead at their next hearing.

The three men, who did not address the court, are being prosecuted by the office the Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in connection with an alleged unlawful badger hunt in the Cabinteely area in Co. Dublin on October 22nd last.

The first two charges state it is alleged they hunted a badger which is a protected wild animal and this was not in accordance with any licence of permission given and that they “wilfully interfered with” a badger's breeding or resting place during the incident.

In the third count it is claimed they were not entitled to be at the named location and were not the owners of occupiers of the place and that they had spades and shovels as well as an electronic device “emitting sounds for tracking dogs hunting underground capable of being used for hunting wild animals”.

They had been granted legal aid when they made their first court appearance in June and the court has not yet begun hearing evidence.