The Batman Strikes Back
On 7 March 2016 a case of the Bat Conservation Trust concluded in the Derby Crown Court and resulted in the "most significant conviction for bat crime ever recorded".
The case involved a small building development company called ISAR Developments Limited which was convicted of destroying (in the course of its redevelopment of a building site) a roost used by brown long-eared bats.
The particular relevance of this case is not so much the fine (which was a relatively low £3,000) but the Proceeds of Crime Confiscation Order that the Court went on to make. In that regard both the Defendants and the Prosecution had agreed that by destroying the roost, ISAR Developments Limited had gained a financial benefit in the sum of £5,730. Accordingly the Court made a Proceeds of Crime Confiscation Order in that sum.
Again the amount involved is not particularly large. However it is a principle upon which the Order was based which is important. Had the financial benefit been a vastly more significant sum then the Proceeds of Crime Confiscation Order would have been vastly more significant. The moral appears to be that developers should not be tempted to destroy bat roosts (or the habitat of other protected species) with a view to financial gain (or to avoid a financial loss) because if convicted the Court will not limit its sanction to a fine and requiring the developer to pay the Prosecution's legal costs but it is now likely to confiscate the developer's assets to the value of a financial benefit deriving from the destruction of the habitat concerned.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.