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In reply to the email/official reply of the minister.
The first paragraph of the minsters official reply states “The department of agriculture and food (DAFWA) is not a party to prosecutions commenced by inspectors employed by the Royal society for prevention of cruelty to animals (RSPCA)”
I am very confused as to who is responsible, if this statement is indeed correct, in WA “Private prosecutions” are not allowed, indicating that all prosecutions are under the control of the solicitor general’s office.
Inspectors employed by a private charity cannot draw powers from their employer, as their employer (RSPCA WA) have no powers to give them, something the minister also confirms in his reply, inspectors powers under the “Animal welfare Act” (Act) are provided to them by the minister in charge of the (Act).DAFWA are in charge of the administration of the act, and are therefore responsible for the actions of inspectors empowered by it.
This fact was made clear by the recent findings by Sven Bluemmel WA’s information commissioner “” Where the proceeding adjudicator clearly found inspectors using their powers under the Act were indeed doing so as if “employed by DAFWA”.DAFWA also have certain documents that further clarify this being their “Prosecution and procedural guidelines” guidelines that are meant to be met by Inspectors empowered by the (Act) before they can obtain DAFWA’s approval to lodge an application to bring a prosecution with the states solicitors office.
I assume the minister from his reply, believes that Inspectors empowered by the (Act) are somehow acting for the RSPCA, which enables them to ignore the department’s guidelines and separates the department’s liability, but that would make the prosecution invalid under WA law, for being a prosecution lodged on behalf of a private entity.
If the minister is not responsible, then which department of the current government is, because the prosecution has to have been one endorsed by a public officer?
In any case the RSPCA seized animals, and refused to return them even when the law that they ought to be adhering to, was explained by DAFWA to them, so are the RSPCA exempt from Western Australian law, or just the animal welfare legislation?
The animals being illegally held, became sick and many were euthanized, in several cases without valid reason, all offences under the (Act), interestingly DAFWA themselves through their chief “Robert Delane” wrote to the RSPCA demanding answers as to why animals were being killed, and prosecution and procedural guidelines were being ignored, so they knew what was going on.
If the chief of DAFWA knew inspectors were breaching not only their own guidelines but the legislation itself, yet allowed an illegal prosecution to proceed and offences against the legislation to continue, how can the department (DAFWA) argue it is not involved?
One might also ask why DAFWA wrote to the RSPCA, who as you have confirmed, are not empowered under the legislation? The law would indicate they ought of been addressing the inspectors they themselves empowered and endorsed.
As much as I appreciate the Minister is making changes in relation to how DAFWA manage the (Act) and I wholly support any review that investigates the award of powers and funding, but the reply appears to expect the public to believe there is no one that can be held to account for breaches of the legislation and crimes under the (Act)This becomes unacceptable when innocent animal carers were adversely affected and healthy animals were killed without valid reason, let alone the huge financial cost to both donors and the state’s tax payers.
I can only assume by the ministers reply that he believes, DAFWA appoint inspectors on behalf of the minister, empower them under the (Act), powers akin to those of police officers, then allows them to do the bidding of a private charity (RSPCA WA), even when that entails breaking the law, perpetrating crimes against both carers and animals, and enabling the inspector’s to ignore all governmental procedural guidelines and judicial due process?
I will CC the State solicitors office in this reply, for clarity as to how an inspector working for a private charity is empowered to ignore procedural and prosecution guidelines, is able to start a prosecution without their express permission, and how these inspectors are able to allow a private charity to commit offences against so many WA laws.
If the Minister of the animal welfare act, the chief of the department responsible for its implication, and the crown solicitors office have no control over a private charity’s and its staffs ability to pervert the cause of justice and break so many sections of WA law, then who is?
I personally would like to see the public demand there is a full enquiry into this whole debacle, to ensure this never happens again.I can supply every document required to prove my statements upon request, including all correspondence between the ministers department and the RSPCA WA.
From:Baston, MinisterSent: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 10:07 AM To:[email protected]: RE: TRIM: Re: Questions for the minister? Our ref: 47-06577/3
Sent: Friday, 13 February 2015 9:33 AM
To: Baston, Minister
Cc: 60 minutes; DAFWA; Animal Justice Party WA
Subject: TRIM: Re: Questions for the minister?
QUESTIONS FOR THE MINISTER Animal welfare Act of WA
The minister on his own letter head has confirmed the RSPCA WA has no powers of prosecution.
Q; has the minister changed his position, because in this and many other cases the RSPCA are still lodging prosecution notices? The RSPCA inspectors are awarded powers under the animal welfare act of WA, providing them certain powers, which include the powers to seize animals on behalf of the Minister for the crown.
Q; has this fact changed by an Act of Parliament? The RSPCA seized 130 animals from as Marianna May in December 2012, after 4 months of no charges being laid, the animals were not returned.
Q; why has the minister allowed the animals to be held illegally in his name? The RSPCA WA pressed charges against Mrs May in or about April 2013 which is illegal under Western Australian law, the minister was advised but did not act to have the charges dismissed, leaving an innocent western Australian pensioner to go into financial hard ship to defend those charges.
Q: What reason would the minister have to allow the RSPCA to ignore Western Australian law? Animals seized under the Animal welfare Act, are help on behalf of the minister, many of Mrs Mays animals died in your care, in fact it is possible not one animal was released alive.
Q; Does the minister ensure the safe keeping of animals in his care? The new Chief inspector of the RSPCA WA is in Australia on a 457 Visa.
Q: Can a person on a 457 Visa hold a position of a public officer under the terms of such a visa? It has been said that the RSPCA WA have spent somewhere in the vicinity of $2 million dollars on the failed case against Mrs May.
Q: Can the minister please confirm if this was Taxpayer funding and if so, does the minister back this use of Tax payer dollars considering the illegal aspects of this case? It can be proved that around 42 prosecution cases have been allowed to be filed and preceded to an outcome by the RSPCA WA of which all have been illegal at law.
Q; Will the minister be addressing this matter and or be reviewing the award of powers and funding under the Animal Welfare Act as a consequence. The Department of Agriculture has brought up all these issues and many others, but still refrained from acting in a manner appropriate within their mandate.
Q; Does the minister intend to investigate their actions? Mrs Marianna May has never been convicted of any offences under the Act, nor is she facing any charges, yet has never had any of the animals she rescued returned and has incurred costs exceeding $200,000 and extreme mental anguish as a direct result of the ministers in action.
Q: Will the minister be compensating Mrs May in an equitable manner?
The most pertinent Question; Will the minister be taking steps to ensure this never happens again?
NOTE; In most states of Australia people and smaller rescue groups are calling for the RSPCA to relinquish their powers of prosecution, before any such move is made a full enquiry is needed, and this case is an ideal starting point for WA, the truth is leaking out about the RSPCA’s actions and motives, so just maybe it is worth acting now before that becomes a flood and takes all those with it that have become complacent by turning a blind eye.
Previous correspondence which continues to be ignored by both the minister and DAFWA To the Magistrates Court, the Minister in charge of Animal welfare and Mr. Robert Delaine CEO of the Department of Agriculture.
I bring to your attention the law and guidelines found in the animal welfare act of 2002 WA, and make note that every section listed has been breached in the case of Mrs Marianna May, with the knowledge of the CEO of DAFWA.
From a common-law perspective the case in question has ventured so far from the legislative requirements and the concept of Natural justice, it fails in every respect to be considered a legal interaction at law.
1. Inspectors empowered under the Animal welfare Act of 2002, acting for DAFWA under the provisions “used for the purposes of the department” attended and removed one animal from Mrs May sighting health issues.
2. The Inspectors at the time, gave directions to Mrs May, but did not go as far as making official orders as required by the ACT (Animal welfare Act 2002)
3. Mrs May took all steps necessary to comply with those (unofficial) orders.
4. The Inspectors did not seek an urgent warrant, yet attended with a general warrant approximately 1 week later. (Undermining any urgency in this matter)
5. The Inspectors did not serve the warrant on Mrs May as is expected at law, returning at a later date to serve the warrant.
6. The warrant served was for an alternate address to the property at which they seized most of Mrs May’s animals.
7. 139 animals were seized; most of the animals were in good health and were rescued animals, those with existing health issues were under veterinarian care, all the animals had shelter, food and water as required under the Act.
8. The Inspectors at the time refused to take advice from Mrs May or her Veterinarians as to ongoing treatment of some of the animals, resulting in the deaths of many.
9. Under the legislation, animals seized must be returned after 4 months if no valid charges have been paid against the owner, Mrs May.
10. On the last day, a prosecution notice was lodged in the Magistrates court, but it was not a valid prosecution notice.
11. The lodgements not only breached procedural and prosecution guidelines, not only was it in disarray, the name of the complainant was the RSPCA WA, who has no right at law to start a private prosecution under Western Australian law.
12. The Inspector who filed the notices on behalf of the RSPCA not only ignored the procedural guidelines, he was fired by the RSPCA shortly after, for questioning their actions.
13. From that date onward the animals were being kept illegally, and ought to have been returned to their owner, as expected under the Act.
14. Making matters worse, the Inspectors handed the animals over into the care of the RSPCA on behalf of the minister, who did not care for the animals in a manner expected under the Act, resulting in many of the animals dying and others becoming sick.
15. The Inspectors ought to have taken action against the RSPCA as is their mandate as inspectors doing the work of the Department of Agriculture.
16. Freedom of information clearly shows the CEO was not only aware of these facts, but that he was already questioning the RSPCA and his Inspectors over these issues.
17. By this stage the RSPCA WA were demanding costs from Mrs May exceeding $50,000 per month, even though they were holding the animals illegally.
18. I make note at this stage the RSPCA had refused advice from the CEO, which expects Inspectors to lodge an application for forfeiture of the animals to the crown under the Act, I put to the court, that this was because the RSPCA had no right to do so at law.
19. The invalid prosecution notice was not dropped until around January 2014, some 14 months after the seizure of the animals, at which time the animals had still not been returned to their rightful owner.
20. New charges were laid by the then Chief Inspector, Amanda Swift, but again these charges were again invalid as they had not complied with the prosecution and procedural guidelines expected of employees of the DAFWA.
21. The new charges also did not have the permission of the state solicitor’s office.
22. The new charges related to only 14 animals, that were not in perfect health, their condition at this stage could not be due to the actions of Mrs may, and even if they were sick from the day of seizure, the animals were rescues and under appropriate veterinarian care.
23. The RSPCA WA shelter mate records appear to be in disarray, making identification impossible.
24. I will skip to the present situation, most of the animals are now dead, all charges have been dropped by way of a private treaty between the RSPCA, the current Chief Inspector and Mrs may, a treaty which Mrs May believes she has been tricked into signing, of the 139 animals seized, only 42 are currently healthy enough to leave the RSPCA supposed care (this figure includes animals born after seizure), and according to official records, up to 21 animals may not even be Mrs Mays.
25. Mrs May has had to borrow in excess of $200,000 during this travesty at law to fund legal representation denying her natural Justice, and the RSPCA are purported to have wasted over $1.6 million dollars of tax payer funds and or public donations, breaching their contractual obligations to the State.
The community expectations would be that both the Minister and the CEO of DAFWA would uphold not only community values in relation to animal welfare concerns, but also those hard fought legislative reforms brought in to protect both the animals and those who care for them, here are a few reminders;
1. The RSPCA have no powers of prosecution in WA at law.
2. Inspectors awarded powers under the Animal Welfare Act are people “employed” in the general sense of “Using the services of” by DAFWA
3. Those Inspectors in this capacity MUST follow DAFWA’s policy and procedural guidelines.
4. Inspectors under the Act MUST also have the approval of the solicitor general before they can file a prosecution in any Western Australian court.
5. Animals seized under the Act are held on behalf of the crown, so are therefore under the protection of the minister.
6. Inspectors awarded powers under the Act, MUST prohibit cruelty to, and other inhumane or improper treatment of, animals.
7. The Animal welfare Act 2002 WA is written to reflect the community’s expectation that people who are in charge of animals will ensure that they are properly treated and cared for.
8. The terms of appointment of a general inspector are to be determined by the CEO and set out in the instrument of appointment. (S33(3)
9. An inspector who seizes an animal is to ensure that it is properly treated and cared for (S 42)
10. If a body corporate commits an offence under this Act every person who was an officer of the body or establishment at the time the offence was committed, also commits the offence. (S80)
11. The CEO may take such action as the CEO considers appropriate generally to protect and promote the welfare, safety and health of animals. (S89) ·
Even though the RSPCA have no right to file any prosecution notices in the Western Australian courts, they have been, even though both the minister and the CEO are aware of these illegal actions, over 50 past prosecutions appear to have been invalid as a result. ·
Inspectors empowered under the Animal welfare Act, do not have the ability to initiate prosecutions without the approval of the solicitor general, but the Minister and the CEO have allowed this to happen. ·
Inspectors empowered under the Act that are employed by the RSPCA, by way of their powers act on behalf of DAFWA, not the RSPCA, therefore MUST follow prosecution and procedural guidelines. ·
Inspectors acting for the CEO, MUST ensure they protect and promote the welfare, safety and health of animals, and this has not been the case.
The Minister is in charge of the Act, the CEO is an arm of the minister, I would like to bring to attention a massive injustice that has resulted by the actions/inactions of the Ceo, Mr. Robert Delaine, and call on the Minister to make amends as is his responsibility to his electorate. There have been several breaches of every aspect of the animal welfare act by Inspectors, the CEO, and the RSPCA in WA.
Marianna May worked with local veterinarians to rescue injured, abused and feral animals under the watch of the local government, who are also empowered under the Act without cause for concern.
General Inspectors under the animal welfare act, attended Mrs Mays property in or about December 17tn 2012 and seized one Rabbit they believed to be injured, asking Mrs May to make changes to the way animals were kept on her property.
The Rabbit which ought to have been returned at law, has not been, even though the return has been questioned by the CEO.
Mrs May complied with the Inspectors directions at all times, actions that would not have supported the issue of charges under the Act.
The Inspectors returned days later under a general warrant, (addressed for the wrong property).
The Inspectors did not apply for an urgent warrant, so therefore did not believe the animals were in danger.
The Inspectors then seized every animal on site, amounting to 139 animals, including birds, rabbits, cats, ducks and a dog, even though most were in good health and were being provided with food, shelter, water and veterinary support as required under the act, and sick animals were under the treatment of professional veterinarians.
The person that signed the warrant and the seizure notices may not have been an inspector appointed under the Act.
Under the Act, animals are to be returned unless valid charges are laid within 4 months; no such charges were brought to bear by an inspector with in those time limits.
The animals were not returned to their rescuer, who at law was and remains the right full owner.
The RSPCA filed charges against Mrs May in the last hour, with no valid right at law to so file a prosecution under WA law.
The Inspectors, who seized the animals, handed them over into the care of the RSPCA.
The Inspectors were aware that the RSPCA did not provide adequate care for the animals held on behalf of the Crown, the CEO also questioned the killing of animals as the RSPCA shelter mate records did not confirm to provide any reasons at law for their euthanasia.
Animals born into captivity and those animals caged for near two years is an offence under the Act, animals killed in the care of the RSPCA have already been questioned by the department, yet no action was taken to ensure the best interests of those that remained, and no charges have been laid against the RSPCA by the departments general inspectors.
The CEO became aware of all of these facts, well before March 2013. (The CEO did not intervene, he did not stop the invalid prosecution, he did not demand his inspectors adhered to the law, he did not demand his inspectors ensure the best interests of the animals through adherence to the departments procedural and prosecution guidelines)
The Inspectors did not file charges against Mrs May in time, they did not apply for forfeiture in a timely manner and they did not adhere to the department’s policy and procedural guidelines.
In or about February 2014 the RSPCA dropped their charges against Mrs May, and new charges were laid by Inspector Swift, who was not the organiser of the initial seizure, these charges were reduced from 139 to 16, and applied only to animals not in perfect health as a result of their rescue, not the actions of Mrs May.
Inspector Swift also refused to adhere to the department’s policy and procedural guidelines rendering the second prosecution invalid at law.
Inspector swift then filed for forfeiture in or around July 2013, after the state administration tribunal had demanded she did not take such an action in the States Magistrates court.
The animals held by the RSPCA were not held in accordance with section 42, and the Inspectors did not protect them as required under the Act
Only 42 animals were in any state to be released after charges against Mrs May were dropped and of those up to 21 do not appear by shelter mate records to be animals originally seized from Mrs May, questioning their ability to care for animals on behalf of the Minister.
Mrs May has endured direct legal costs of well over $200,000 as a result, denying her Natural Justice under common law.
The RSPCA WA has incurred costs of around $1.6 million dollars, and abuse of the contractual obligations with DAFWA.
The RSPCA have now entered into a private partnership with officers employed by the crown to drop all charges against Mrs May in return for her silence.
The Inspector “Chief Inspector Swift” has made it clear in the State Administration Tribunal that she is unable to guarantee the lives of any of the illegally held animals, even though several reputable Perth No Kill shelters have offered to take any remaining animals if so required.
The CEO and the minister are responsible for this debacle, the lives of the animals and the damages to Mrs may.
The Inspectors involved have breached the department’s guidelines and the RSPCA have breached the law and the fundamental ideals found in the animal welfare Act and ought to be charged with cruelty offences. Mrs May has every right to expect natural justice in all things, which will require the urgent and long overdue intervention of the minister. Mark Aldridge Animal Welfare Advocate.