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Legal Minds

18 December 2014 / by / in

Tommy refused Human Rights!

Tommy the chimpanzee lost his case in the United States seeking ‘human rights’ for animals. Is this the biggest miscarriage of justice since Toad of Wind in the Willows fame  was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment  for reckless driving?

Animals have featured in a number of celebrated legal cases in English law, the racehorse Rock of Gibraltar was the subject of a bitter ownership dispute between Sir Alex Ferguson and the former Manchester United owners the Magnier family.

A snail featured in a ginger beer bottle in the leading tort case of Donoghue v Stephenson  in 1932. Before that in 1862, a horse Sizing Europe featured in the leading contract case Felthouse v Bindley which established that acceptance of a contract cannot be deemed by silence.

Hector the 12 stone Great Dane was exculpated by the Court of Appeal in 2009 in Whippey v Jones. Mr Jones was jogging on a riverside footpath when he was bowled over by Hector sustaining  an injury to his shoulder. His handler Mr Whippey successfully appealed the finding of the judge that he should have anticipated the possibility of this type of injury, Hector having been found to be of previous good character.


John Bechelet

John specialises in commercial and civil fraud litigation. Admitted as a solicitor in 1983, John worked in private practice and in-house for a leading life assurance company before establishing Bivonas with Antony Brown in 1997. John has extensive experience in a wide range of courts and tribunals including the UK Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Divisional Court. He has been involved in a number of important reported cases.