Stop Circus Suffering

CPS Statement on Anne the Elephant

The Crown Prosecution Service has today agreed to take on the prosecution of Bobby and Moira Roberts in relation to the mistreatment of their circus elephant “Anne”.

Bobby Roberts Super Circus elephant abuse

The prosecution was originally brought as a private prosecution by Animal Defenders International (ADI), a worldwide animal welfare organisation which carried out an investigation into Anne’s welfare at the Roberts’ circus in Peterborough during the period of 21st January to 15th February 2011.

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Earlier this month, the CPS was approached by the legal representatives in the case with a view to the CPS taking over the prosecution. Given the public concern over the case, the Director of Public Prosecutions has now agreed that the CPS take over and continue the legal proceedings against the Roberts.

Mr and Mrs Roberts are jointly charged with the following offences:

  • Causing the elephant to suffer unnecessarily, by requiring the elephant to be chained to the ground at all times, contrary to section 4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
  • Failing to take reasonable steps to prevent their employee from causing unnecessary suffering to the elephant, by repeatedly beating it, contrary to section 4(2) of the same Act
  • Failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the needs of the elephant were met to the extent required by good practice, contrary to section 9 of the same Act.

The private prosecution was commenced by ADI on 18th July 2011 at Northampton Magistrates Court. Now that the CPS is prosecuting the case, the adjourned first appearance will take place at Corby Magistrates Court on 16th November. At that hearing the court is likely to give directions in preparation for the trial.

Anne is a 58 year old female elephant brought from Sri Lanka to The Bobby Roberts Super Circus in the 1950s. Anne was subsequently transferred to a safari park with the owners’ consent. These defendants have the right to a fair trial. It is important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice their trial.

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