Sheriff stands down in bird deaths case over RSPB link
A sheriff has stood down from a court case involving a man accused of killing birds of prey as she is a member of the RSPB.
George Mutch was due to stand trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court accused of recklessly killing or injuring two goshawks and a buzzard by using traps.
He is alleged to have carried out the offences near Alford in 2012.
Sheriff Annella Cowan said justice had to be seen to be done. The case will call again later in the year.
Defence counsel Mark Moir argued that the sheriff should not hear the case because the bird charity had been involved in the criminal investigation against Mr Mutch.
Mr Moir stressed that he was not suggesting that the sheriff would be biased.
Mr Mutch, 48, of Kildrummy, is alleged to have committed the offences at the Kildrummy Estate.