THREE slaughtermen and two bosses at an abattoir in North Yorkshire will stand trial in January next year facing charges relating to alleged mistreatment of animals.

The charges relate to the treatment sheep as they were killed at Bowood abattoir in December 2014, at Busby Stoop near Thirsk, following an investigation carried out by the animal rights group Animal Aid.

Mr Lewandowski, 30, of Ribble Drive, Darlington, was charged with two counts of causing suffering to four sheep by lifting them by their fleeces during the slaughter process.

Kabeer Hussain, 44, of Brantwood Road, Bradford, was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to 24 sheep by failing to give them sufficient time to lose consciousness before they were killed.

Kazam Hussein, 54, of Haworth Road, Bradford, was charged with causing suffering to 29 sheep, including not giving sheep enough time to lose consciousness, striking them during slaughter, and failing to cut their throats with a single cut.

Robert Woodward, 69, and his son, William, 31, both from Catesby, in the Daventry area of Northamptonshire, were charged with failing to act to take reasonable steps to prevent the actions of several employees that caused the animals to suffer.

In November a district judge had ruled prosecutors had taken too long to bring the case to court, making proceedings legally void.

However the Crown Prosecution Service appealed against the finding and it was overturned by two High Court judges sitting in Leeds earlier this year.

At York Magistrates Court on Thursday (July 27) District Judge Adrian Lower listed the case for a four day trial at Northallerton Magistrates Court, after the defendants all pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing at the court in Northallerton.

The trial will begin on January 22.