The owner of ‘death row’ alpaca Geronimo has slammed ‘despicable’ Defra for refusing to extend his reprieve beyond 5pm today (Tuesday, August 17) – even though a judicial review granted may not be heard for months.
Helen MacDonald, 50, said she was thrilled when her legal team told her yesterday that the review application to the High Court had been accepted.
But she warned Geronimo’s supporters that the battle had not been won as Defra had only agreed to extend his stay of execution until 5pm today.
She said if they refuse to budge on this, her legal team will have no option but to pursue an injunction so they couldn’t kill Geronimo before the High Court rules on the latest hearing.
Helen, of Wickwar, South Gloucestershire, said she hasn’t been given a timeframe but warned her last judicial review in the same court took four months to be heard.
She said: “We heard from court late yesterday that they had accepted our judicial review so are now just waiting for a date.
“But Defra confirmed that as far as executing the warrant they wouldn’t do anything until 5pm today.
For breaking news like this direct to your inbox, click here
“We are now trying to get that time extended by Defra or will have to go back to the High Court and ask them to look at an injunction.
“We just have to keep him safe before the hearing but we don’t know when that will be. It depends on Defra how we achieve that.
“They can either be responsible and announce they will not take action before the hearing or we will have to take steps today to ensure Geronimo stays safe.
“I honestly don’t know how long it will take. The last time we had a judicial review it took four months before it was heard. We hope it will not be that long this time but it is up to the court.”
In a message to Geronimo’s supporters, Helen said the battle may have been won but the fight was far from over.
She added: “If Defra try and do something before the case is heard that would be the most despicable thing ever. They know the science is not there and we just want some reasonable behaviour.
“We want some grown up conversations and there are options on the table for them. This is just another step in clearing Geronimo’s name.
“We have always invited Defra to the table but they are hiding behind a wall and hoping this will go away and he will die.
“We are just dealing with things day to day so at least I was able to sleep last night. This is all moving at such a fast pace now you can sense things are happening.
“But we are not done, no-where near yet. Defra are still not accepting the facts and so we will keep doing what we can and use every tool in the book to stop them.
“The High Court ruling yesterday was good new – but I would just say to our supporters that the fight is not over. People power is helping so much and this has really helped keep us going no doubt.
“We have to have faith in the judicial system. At some point they have to accept the evidence that was provided was inaccurate and say it is wrong. The whole thing is a mess but with people power and getting justice in the conventional way I hope we can get through it.”
The judicial review was sought on the basis of “non disclosure” of information by Defra to Helen’s legal team around previous ‘healthy’ animals that had been put down but later showed no trace of bovine TB.