Tuesday, 6 August 2013

"Bull attack: Farmer charged over walker's death"

From the BBC:

A farmer has been charged with gross negligence manslaughter over the death of a walker who was killed by a bull.

Roger Freeman died while walking with his wife through Underhill Farm at Stanford-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire, close to the Leicestershire border.

Paul Waterfall has been bailed to appear at Nottingham Magistrates' Court on 21 August. The Crown Prosecution Service said he was responsible for the farm at the time of the attack in November 2010.

Woah! What sort of fresh madness is this?

Cattle are dangerous, end of, always have been, always will be. Farmers get killed and injured, so do people walking their dogs. That is in the nature of things. That is why cattle are kept in fields and behind gates and fences.

Conversely, I am delighted to see that dog owners will be made criminally liable for the acts of their pets , something I myself suggested a while back.


A. Lee Firth said...

You are aware that land which a public footpath crosses is a lot cheaper? The reason why, is that there are limitations placed on its use - one of them being that nothing dangerous should be placed in the field.

The farmer committed a serious criminal act and should be prosecuted.

Mark Wadsworth said...

ALF, land law is trickier than that. Public rights of way are an "easement" burdening somebody else's land.

Now, assuming this particular field was "always" used for cattle and that the right of way arose later (by common law), the right of way is subject to the pre-existing right of the farmer to keep cattle.

It would be quite different if the council had a field with a pavement going across it and sold it to a farmer, subject to a "restrictive covenant" (slightly different to an "easement") that pavement users were not to be exposed to rampaging cattle, in which case the farmer is clearly guilty of something or other.

Bayard said...

I have always been under the impression that it is illegal for a farmer to keep a bull in a field crossed by a public footpath, unless the bull is with cows.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, maybe it is. We didn't do that unit where I did a law degree.