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Malcolm Galloway has secured the acquittal of a farmer accused of ‘causing a water discharge activity’

Malcolm Galloway, instructed by Neil Scott (DAC Beachcroft Bristol) has secured the acquittal of a farmer accused of ‘causing a water discharge activity’ at Oxford Crown Court.

The prosecution was brought by the Environment Agency after the farmer’s crop sprayer overturned and fractured on a roundabout in Oxfordshire. Approximately 4000 litres of herbicides and fungicides spilled into the drainage system of the roundabout. The prosecution case was that the spill entered local brooks and causing a “Category 1” environmental event with hundreds of fish killed.

The defence case was that the farmer had not ’caused’ the discharge activity because the chain of causation was broken by an ‘extraordinary’ event by a third party, namely the Environment Agency. The defence was that if the pollution escaped from the roundabout to was due the delay and inaction of the Environment Agency in their response to the spill and their refusal to allow the farmer to use his equipment to remove the spill from the drains.

After a trial which lasted 6 days, the jury at Oxford Crown Court took less than an hour to unanimously acquit the farmer.



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