Dairy farmer gangmaster appeal heard in Bristol

ONE of the dairy farmers caught up in the long-running gangmaster legal case has appealed against his conviction for hiring labour from an unlicensed labour provider.

The appeal on behalf of Ken Moss, from Moss and Sons, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, was the first case to be heard in the new Bristol Civil Justice Centre. Judgement was reserved until a later date at the end of the hearing on today (November 6).

Mr Moss was convicted in March for entering into an agreement with an unlicensed labour provider, although he was given an absolute discharge. He was not handed a penalty but was ordered to pay £1,000 towards the prosecution’s costs.

Lawyers represented Mr Moss argued that the Gangmaster Licensing Authority’s policy of prosecuting farmers alleged to have hired labour from an unlicensed gangmaster was an ‘abuse of process’.

Mr Moss is one of 17 farmers still caught up in the case.

The case initially involved 21 farmers, including some of the biggest names in dairy farming, such as former NFU vice president Gwyn Jones, leading cattle breeders Wills Brothers, from Cornwall, and prominent suppliers of major supermarkets.

The GLA began its investigation into the labour provider that supplied workers to the farmers in spring 2010 after discovering it did not have a GLA licence, as required by companies supplying labour in the farming industry. The GLA also investigated the rates of pay received by workers.

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