Northern Ireland

Suspended sentence for cattle dealer who defrauded 83-year-old farmer

David Lee
Image caption David Lee was ordered to pay £6,000 compensation and fined £3,600

A County Tyrone cattle dealer who defrauded an 83-year-old farmer has been given a suspended sentence.

David Lee, 56, of Carrickaness Road, Dungannon, showed "complete disregard" for rules protecting the food chain.

He was convicted of fraud and several other charges, ordered to pay £6,000 compensation and fined £3,600.

Lee turned up late at night at Patrick McGorrey's farm at Clonoe in August 2015 with more cattle than agreed.

Resale value

The animals were not the specification ordered, thus affecting their resale value.

A number were also sick, leaving the family with a £2,000 vet's bill.

The McGorreys said they believed their elderly father had been "taken advantage of".

The judge at Dungannon Magistrates' Court said Lee had demonstrated contempt for the rules on which food safety in Northern Ireland are based.

Image caption Patrick McGorrey (right) pictured with his son James

Lee plans to appeal the fraud conviction, effectively postponing the compensation payment.

The judge said the Northern Ireland farming community depended on the "integrity" of the animal movement system.

He said it not only underpinned human health but provided assurances in the event of an animal disease outbreak.

The judge said he found it "alarming" that someone like Lee with his "contemptuous attitude to the rules" could be so heavily involved in the cattle trade.

The court was been told that he had sold 3,000 cattle in a ten-month period.

'Shambolic'

His record keeping was described as "shambolic".

Lee was given a three-month prison sentence suspended for two years on the fraud charge.

He got further suspended sentences for failing to notify the Department of Agriculture on the animals' movements and failing to keep a herd register.