Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Grandmother arrested, tagged for selling goldfish to 14-year-old.

Meanwhile, rapists get off scot-free in the UK. From the Daily Mail:
A pet shop owner has been ordered to wear an electronic tag for selling a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy.

Great-grandmother Joan Higgins, 66, was caught by council bosses in an undercover investigation after she unwittingly sold the fish to the boy, breaching new animal welfare laws.

She was subjected to an eight-month court ordeal and threatened with jail before being fined £1,000 and ordered to abide by a nightime curfew and wear the tag so the authorities can monitor her movements.
The court ruling has now prevented Joan from babysitting her one-month-old great-grandson at his mother's home and attending weekly Bingo sessions with her sister.

Mrs Higgins was also forced her to cancel plans to attend a Rod Stewart concert after tickets were bought for her by her TV actor nephew Will Mellor.

Today, Joan's 47-year-old son son Mark, who was also fined £750 and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work, labelled the prosecution a 'judicial joke'.

Mr Higgins, of Sale, Greater Manchester said: 'I think it's a farce and legal lunacy and I told the council that.

'What gets me so cross is that they put my Mum on a tag - she's nearly 70, for goodness sake.

'Once it's fitted she'll be on a curfew from 7pm until 7am until June. She won't be able to go out with her sister to bingo every week, and she's been bought tickets to see Rod Stewart by her nephew Will Mellor, so she won't be able to go to that.

'She's a great-grandmother - so she won't be able to babysit a newborn baby, all because of this tag. You would think they have better things to do with their time and money.'

The prosecution has cost the taxpayer an estimated £20,000.

Mrs Higgins and her son were caught out by a new bill passed in 2005 which makes it illegal to sell goldfish to under 16s and threatens offenders with up to 12 months in prison.

In July 2009, Trafford council sent a 14-year-old boy to the shop to do a test purchase and after failing to ask the boy for identification, the pair were summoned to court.

Mr Higgins labelled the incident 'entrapment', saying the boy looked older than 14.

He added: 'The council sent the 14-year-old into us - in my book that's entrapment.

'And besides which is it hard to tell how old a lad is these days. He looked much older than 14.'

Mrs Higgins, a grandmother of three and great-grandmother to one, has been running the shop for 28 years.

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