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Hyde Heath horse trader James Gray fails in High Court appeal over £600,000 legal bill
DISGRACED horse trader James Gray has today been told by top judges to pay up his £600,000 legal bill after failing in a High Court appeal.
The former owner of Spindles Farm, Hyde Heath, claimed his prosecution was blighted by procedural errors and he did not get a fair hearing.
The 49-year-old also claimed the £600,000 he was ordered to pay as a result of several court cases was "grossly disproportionate".
But today Lord Justice Toulson and Mr Justice Silber, sitting at London's High Court, dismissed his appeal and told him to stump up the cash.
Gray was convicted of 11 offences under the Animal Welfare Act in May 2009 after a 52 day trial and was originally ordered to pay £400,000 costs by Aylesbury Crown Court Judge Christopher Tyrer a year later after an appeal hearing.
Two of Gray's convictions were overturned but he was given a 24 week jail term, which he was handed in his absence after absconding from court. He was later arrested and given a further eight week stretch.
He was later ordered to pay an additional £200,000 after another unsuccessful appeal against his sentence.
His wife Julie, 46, was handed the same financial penalty on that occasion after being found guilty of two charges under the Animal Welfare Act.
But today the High Court judges ruled her case should be reconsidered by the Crown Court.
Mr Justice Silber said: "There is also an issue as to whether Mrs Gray is entitled to any proceeds of sale from the former matrimonial home. The trustee in bankruptcy of Mr Gray is seeking to have the transfer of Spindles Farm set aside."
The case attracted national notoriety after experienced RSPCA officers said it was the worst case of animal cruelty they had ever seen.
More than 30 horses, ponies and donkeys were found dead and over 100 others - some of which were severely emaciated - were removed from the farm because of huge concerns over their welfare.
Aylesbury Crown Court heard at the conclusion of the case Gray had been declared bankrupt while Judge Tyrer said: "In our judgement, this was animal cruelty on a scale that beggars belief."
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