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Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act 2020

Section 1 – Prevention of harm to animals: penalties for offences

4.This section amends section 46 (penalties for offences) of the 2006 Act, and repeals section 44 (proceedings for animal fighting offences) of the same Act in consequence of this amendment.

5.Section 46(1) of the 2006 Act previously provided that a person who commits an offence under section 19 (unnecessary suffering) or 23 (animal fighting) was liable, on summary conviction only, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding £20,000 or to both. The amendment made by section 1(2)(a) of the Act means that, for these offences, any such person may alternatively be liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or a fine (or both).

6.Section 46(3) of the 2006 Act previously provided that a person who commits an offence under regulations made under Part 2 of the 2006 Act was liable to such penalties, not exceeding imprisonment for a term of 6 months or a fine of level 5 on the standard scale (or both), as provided for in the regulations. The amendment made by section 1(2)(b) and (c) of the Act means that regulations made under Part 2 of the 2006 Act (with the exception of regulations made under new section 46A for fixed penalty notices) may specify maximum penalties, for offences in such regulations, not exceeding imprisonment for a term 12 months or a fine of £40,000 (or both).

7.The time limits for bringing proceedings for an offence under section 19 were previously governed by section 136 (time limit for certain offences) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, which applies to statutory offences which are triable only summarily. As a result of the amendment to section 46 those time limits no longer apply because a section 19 offence is also triable on indictment. The time limits for bringing proceedings for an offence under section 23 were previously governed by section 44 (proceedings for animal fighting offences) of the 2006 Act, which displaced section 136 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995. As a result of the amendment to section 46 the time limits in section 136 would no longer apply because a section 23 offence is also triable on indictment. Section 44 is therefore no longer necessary and is repealed.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.

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