There have been over 573 successful prosecutions under the Hunting Act from 2005 to 2021. A further 47 people have admitted an offence under the Act to the police since 2005 for which they received a formal police caution as an alternative to being prosecuted in court.
Listed below is a brief summary of some of the cases that have been reported in the press. Please note that due to the large amount of prosecutions it is not possible to list details of all the cases here.
East Essex Hunt terrier man Paul O’Shea, 49, of Mount Bures, Essex, admitted charges of hunting a wild mammal with a dog and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal when he appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 22/06/2022. The prosecution withdrew a charge of hunting a wild mammal with a dog against a 16-year-old girl.
Magistrates’ ordered a pre-sentence report and O’Shea was warned that the section 4 offence was imprisonable and all sentencing options remained open. He was granted unconditional bail until his sentencing at the same court on Monday 01/08/2022.
At a hearing on 15th November 2019 at Nottingham Magistrates Court, former huntsman of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt Sam Staniland and former joint master William Tatler pleaded guilty to hunting a wild mammal with dogs, contrary to the Hunting Act 2004
They were sentenced as follows:
Sam Staniland: To pay £350 fine and £185 court costs.
William Tatler: To pay £350 fine and £185 court costs
The case against the joint master Peter Southwell, former whipper-in John Oliver Finnegan, terrier man Andrew Bull and terrier man Sammuel Stanley was discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service.
The men are charged with hunting a wild mammal with dogs at Spath Covert, in Sutton-on-the-Hill, in Derbyshire, 2nd October 2018.
George Adams, former huntsman with the Fitzwilliam Hunt, lost his appeal at Cambridge Crown Court on the 9th May 2019 after the judge rejected his attempts to use what is known as the ‘falconry exemption’ to persuade them to overturn his earlier conviction. Last year Adams, who has now retired from hunting, was convicted at Peterborough Magistrates Court last year of using hounds to kill a fox on New Years Day 2016, near Wansford, Cambridgeshire.
Adams was fined £1,000 and was ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £930 costs following the original conviction. After the appeal, he was ordered to pay £11,332 costs.
Former huntsman of the Thurlow Hunt Christopher Amatt, 58, of Attleton Green, Wickhambrook has been found guilty of hunting a fox with dogs, contrary to S1 Hunting Act 2004 and common assault. The three-day trial heard by Suffolk Magistrates Court, held at Ipswich Crown Court, concluded on the 13th March. Another man associated with the Thurlow Hunt, Archibald Clifton-Brown 19, of Little Bradley Hall, Haverhill, was cleared of charges under the Hunting Act but found guilty of assault by beating.
Amatt was fined £150 for the hunting offence, £100 for the assault offence, and ordered to pay £600 costs and a £30 surcharge.
Clifton-Brown was fined £150 for the assault and ordered to pay £450 in costs and a £30 surcharge.
The offences took place on Boxing Day in December 2017 at Great Thurlow, Suffolk.
The former huntsman of the Cambridgeshire based Fitzwilliam Hunt was found guilty of illegal hunting following a two-day trial in April 2018 at Peterborough Magistrates Court. Retired huntsman George Adams (66) was convicted of using a pack hounds to kill the fox on January 1 2016.
Also on trial was Falconer John Mease who was found not guilty of any Hunting Act offences and also found not guilty of causing unnecessary cruelty to an animal relating to the hunting of a fox in 2013.
Adams was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £930 costs.
On the 14th October 2014 three members of the College Valley and North Northumberland Hunt appeared before Berwick Magistrates’ Court and were each found guilty of hunting a wild mammal with dogs, contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004. Ian McKie, huntsman, was fined £1,150 and ordered to pay £385 costs and a victim surcharge of £115; Timothy Wyndham Basil Smalley, joint master, was fined £2,075 and ordered to pay £385 costs and a victim surcharge £120; and Andrew Proe, kennel huntsman, was fined £480, ordered to pay £385 costs and a £48 victim surcharge. The offence took place on the 27th February 2014 when the hunt met at West Kyloe, West Kyloe near Lowick, Northumberland. The case was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service following evidence supplied by the League Against Cruel Sports and further investigation by Northumbria police.
William and Mark Gaskin from Holbeach in Lincolnshire were found guilty of hunting a wild mammal with a dog and trespassing in pursuit of game at Boston Magistrates’ Court on the 1st September 2014. Operation Galileo officers arrested the men after a member of the public witnessed them with a lurcher dog which was chasing a hare in Sutton St James in November 2013. William and Mark Gaskin were each fined £800 and ordered to pay £300 costs. Their vehicle was also to be forfeited.
William Jones, 26, from North Wales admitted hunting a fox with a dog in breach of Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004 and one charge of keeping an animal for fighting, contrary to Section 8 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Appearing at Caemarfon Magistrates’ Court on 15th September 2014 Jones received a 30 day custodial sentence suspended for 12 months, fined £120 plus £500 costs, banned from keeping dogs for 8 years and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work. The case was the result from a joint operation between the police and RSPCA.
The huntsman of the Sussex based Crawley and Horsham Hunt appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on the 17th September and pleaded guilty to hunting a fox with dogs, contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004. Nick Bycroft, 48, was given a 12 month conditional discharge, ordered to pay £150 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. In his mitigation the court was told that Bycroft “got carried away in the heat of the moment”. The incident took place at Angmering Park, near Arundel on the 19th February 2013. The incident was filmed by an anti-hunt monitor who subsequently handed the footage to Sussex police. In April 2013 Nick Bycroft was fined £150 after admitting to Public Order offences and Criminal Damage after an unprovoked attack on hunt saboteurs in November 2012.
The huntsman for the Seavington Hunt appeared at Yeovil Magistrate’s Court on the 13th September and pleaded guilty to hunting a fox with dogs, contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004. David Parker, 39, was fined £500, ordered to pay £500 costs and a £50 victim surcharge. The defence’s plea for a conditional discharge was dismissed by District Judge Lynne Matthews and made the point that Parker had admitted the offence of fox hunting by his own guilty plea. The case related to an incident that took place in January 2013 in which hounds from the Seavington Hunt were recorded pursuing a fox in the area of Causeway Lane, Winsham in Dorset. The pursuit was recorded by investigators from the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the case was brought to court by the RSPCA.
Four men working for the Duddon Valley Fox Control Society have admitted hunting a wild mammal with a dog, contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004, after evidence was passed to Cumbria police by the League Against Cruel Sports. The four offenders admitted to unlawfully hunting foxes with dogs on the 17th March 2013 at Broughton Moor in Cumbria, land where they had been granted permission by the Forestry Commission to carry out legal fox control on specified dates, subject to certain conditions. Philip Harvey, James Coward, Andrew Mitchel and Edward Kevin Benson were each served official police cautions.
Four members of the Middleton Hunt, a registered hunt based in north Yorkshire, each pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004 at York Magistrates Court. Joint master and huntsman Tom Holt was fined £200 and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs; whipper-in Shaun Marles was fined £100 and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge of £20; terrier man Lee Martin was fined £100 and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 cost; and amateur terrier man Brian Cuthbertson was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £100 costs. The case concerned an incident that took place in December 2012 on land at Full Sutton in East Yorkshire and was filmed by investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports. A fox had taken refuge in a stack of hay bales and attempts were made to flush out the fox using terriers. Eventually after about 25 minutes the fox was flushed out into the open but was soon brought down and torn apart by the waiting pack of hounds. Holt used his hunting horn to blow the traditional call for a kill and then picked up the dead fox so the hounds could attack and ‘rag’ the carcass.
Two men have been found guilty at West Suffolk Magistrates’ Court of illegally hunting a fox with a dog. The incident took place last October at Green Meadow in Stowmarket where Nicholas Harris, 44, and Anthony Laflin, 50, had gone with dogs, a high-powered lamp, a spade and a knife. Harris claimed to have been walking his 5 dogs in the afternoon when he lost one of them, a 7 year old Jack Russell. He carried out a 3 hour search before returning home and calling his friend Laflin for help. In the evening the police noticed the men’s cars parked up at the entrance of Green Meadows and found fresh blood in the drivers footwell and a dead bird that had been plucked. They also found a dog cage in the back and garden shears with fresh blood on the side. The police officers were unable to find the two men but later stopped the men and found a dead fox in Harris’s car. Harris claimed that he had found the dead fox together with the missing terrier down a rabbit hole. The two men denied the illegal hunting charge but Laflin pleaded guilty to possession of a lock knife. Both men were fined £150 each, £300 in cost and a £20 victim surcharge. Laflin was fined a further £150 for possession of a knife.
Two men from Doncaster have been fined after being caught hare coursing at a farm in Sandtoft in the Isle of Axholme, Lincolnshire in January. Felix Buller Boyling, 47 and Ambrose Watson, 43 both pleaded guilty to separate charges of hunting a wild mammal with a dog at North Lincolnshire Magistrates’ Court in Scunthorpe. Boyling was ordered to pay a £200 fine with a victim surcharge of £15 plus £85 prosecution costs. He was disqualified from driving for 28 days and the court seized his car. Watson was fined £200 with a £20 victim surcharge and had to pay £85 court costs.
The Heythrop Hunt Ltd and two of its members recently retired joint master Richard Sumner and former huntsman Julian Barnfield each pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates Court to four charges of illegally hunting foxes during the 2011/12 season. The case was prosecuted by the RSPCA and was the first time a hunt faced corporate charges. Extensive footage was supplied to the RSPCA by volunteer hunt monitors and after reviewing the evidence the RSPCA brought fifty two charges against the hunt and four of its members. Shortly before the case was to be heard the hunt and two of its members offered to plead guilty to twelve charges which the RSPCA accepted. District Judge Tim Pattinson fined the hunt £4000, Sumner £1,800 and Barnfield £1,000. The hunt also had to pay £15,000 towards the RSPCA legal costs, Sumner £2,500 and Barnfield £2,000. Each defendant had to pay a £15 victim surcharge.
Two members of the Meynell and South Staffordhire Hunt were found guilty at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates court of Hunting Act offences. Hunt master the Honourable John Edward Greenall, brother of the Baron of Daresbury, was fined £3000, ordered to pay £500 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. Glen Morris of Tutbury was fined £250, ordered to pay £250 and a £15 victim surcharge. The offences took place in October last year at Sutton Farm at Sutton on the Hill and were filmed by two anti-hunt campaigners. The footage was played to the court and showed hunt supporters surrounding a wood where the hounds could be heard hunting. When a fox tried to escape from the wood the supporters clapped and hit their boots and saddles with riding crops to frighten the fox back in. Morris was filmed clapping his hands and waving his arms. A second fox broke out of the wood and was followed by a number of riders, which included Greenall. This is the first conviction under the Hunting Act for cub hunting.
Three members of the Sussex based Crawley and Horsham Hunt were found guilty of Hunting Act offences at Haywards Heath Magistrates court. Andrew Phillis, former huntsman (currently huntsman and master of the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers) was convicted of two offences, Rachel Holdsworth, hunt secretary was convicted of two offences and Neill Millard, joint master was convicted of one offence. Video footage of hounds in full cry chasing a fox on 18th January and 25th January last year were shown to the court during a seven day trial. The three defendants claimed to have been legitimately trail hunting and that the pursuit of the foxes was accidental. However, District Judge Stephen Nicholls said he was “not satisfied” that this was the case. The footage showed Holdsworth, who was acting as trail layer on one of the days, holding a riding crop with a duster on the end as if laying an artificial trail, but Judge Nicholls said this was done “for the benefit of the cameras”. Phillis was fined £900 plus £2,500 costs; Holdsworth was fined £500 for each offence plus £2,500 costs and Millard was fined £1000 plus £2,500 costs.
Huntsman Derek Hopkins and terrier man Kevin Allen of the Leicestershire based Fernie Hunt had their appeal dismissed at Leicester Crown Court. They had each been found guilty at Leicester Magistrates Court earlier in the year of hunting a wild mammal with a dog and interfering with a badger sett in current use during a meet of the Fernie Hunt in January 2010. The incident had been filmed by League Against Cruel Sports investigators. Judge Michael Pert QC told the court that Hopkins was found to be “an unconvincing and unimpressive witness” and that Allen “was even less impressive” and “shifty and evasive”. When previously convicted Hopkins was fined £850, £15 victim surcharge and £1250 costs. Allen was fined £650. £15 victim surcharge and £900 costs. The orignal sentences were confirmed but with additional costs Hopkins £3,630 and Allen £2,730.
The huntsman for the Fernie Hunt, Derek Hopkins, and the hunt’s terrier man Kevin Allen were found guilty by a panel of lay magistrates after a seven day trial at Leicester Magistrates’ Court. The Court was shown video footage provided by the League Against Cruel Sports, whose investigators had been monitoring the Fernie Hunt in January 2010. The footage showed the hounds ‘marking’ the spot where a fox had sought refuge underground in a badger sett (which showed signs of current use). Several minutes later Allen was seen arriving a the scene on a quad bike. He then began to dig down to the fox which bolted and subsequently pursued by the awaiting hounds. Dismissing the defence claim that the badger sett was inactive and that the hunt were following a trail, magistrates said they were clear that a fox was flushed out from below ground in order to be hunted again. Hopkins was fined £850 and ordered to pay £1,250 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge. Allen was fined £650, ordered to pay £900 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Richard Down, huntsman for the Quantock Staghounds was convicted at Taunton Magistrates court of hunting a wild mammal with a dog. He is the first huntsman to be convicted twice under the Hunting Act 2004. The offence took place in September 2009 which was recorded by an investigator from the League Agasnt Cruel Sports. Down claimed that he had been using the “rescue of a wild mammal” exemption and had hunted an injured stag to relieve its suffering after being alerted the evening before that there was a stag on a local farmer’s land with a broken hip. Under the exemption only two dogs can be used to hunt an injured wild mammal which must be shot as soon as possible after being found to relieve it’s suffering. Video footage taken by a League Against Cruel Sports investigator showed the stag being pursued over open land by three hounds. Prosecutor Kerry Barker said the chase caused the stag “great distress” and District Judge Martin Brown said Down was “in control of the dogs and could have called them back”. Down was fined £375, £15 victim surcharge and £2,530 costs.
Alistair Robinson 48, A terrierman for the Ullswater Foxhounds, was found guilty at Penrith Magistrate’s court of breaching Section 1 of the Hunting Act. The case was based on video evidence obtained by the League Against Cruel Sports and further investigations carried out by Cumbria police. The video footage taken on 26th October 2009 showed Robinson entering two terriers underground where a fox had sought refuge after being pursued by a pack of hounds belonging to the Ullswater Foxhounds. He then dug out the fox from underground and then beat it to death with a stick. He then tried to hide the carcass in a dry stone wall where it was later retrieved by a League investigator. A post mortem examination on the dead vixen showed that she had been attacked for ‘a prolonged time’ by dogs and that she had bite marks to the face and a crushed skull. In his defence Robinson claimed that he had sent his terrier underground to help track and bring out a four year old dog that had accidentally escaped its leash and run into the hole. He had also claimed that the fox was in “a bit of a state” and had given it “a couple of knocks to finish it off” as it wouldn’t have survived. The Judge, Gerald Chalk, said that he was fully satisfied that Robinson was hunting a wild mammal illegally. Robinson was fined £250 and ordered to pay £900 in costs.
Nigel Bell, huntsman and master of the Wick and District Beagles was cautioned by police for illegal hunting after admitting that he had hunted a hare with a pack of hounds. The incident took place in Febraury 2010 and was filmed by an investigator from the League Against Cruel Sports.
The television chef and ‘Fat Lady’ Clarissa Dickson-Wright and race horse trainer Sir Mark Prescott pleaded guilty to Hunting Act offences and admitted to attending two hare coursing events in North Yorkshire in March 2007 and received an absolute discharge. Neither defendant appeared in person at Scarborough Magistrates’ court on the 1st September 2009. The case was a private prosecution by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Both defendants admitted attending one hare coursing event on 2nd March 2007 near Nunnington and another the following day near Amotherby. The court heard that events were organised by the Yorkshire Greyhound Field Trialing Club (YGFTC) and were made up of 46 trials, each involving two dogs chasing hares over two days. John Cooper, prosecuting for IFAW, described the events as “significant and concerted”. “During the course of both these events the dogs were muzzled but that does not stop the damage and harm to the wildlife they chase and harry” he said. “What you have is a sophisticated, large and well-attended gathering which was consciously trying, by methods it used – muzzling and the use of a gun in particular – to blur the distinction and avoid prosecution under the Hunting Act”. In mitigation for Prescott, Stephen Welford said his client was invited by the YGFTC, which believed it was running a legal and above board event. He said the club sought advice from a firm of solicitors and leading counsel and received insurance.
Two landowners have been found guilty of attending and permitting their land to be used for an illegal hare coursing event. Former racehorse trainer Miles Henry Easterby, 79, of Great Habton near Malton and Major John Shaw, 56, of Welburn near Kirkbymoor-side were convicted on July 29 at Scarborough Magistrates Court of breaching the Hunting Act in March 2007 in North Yorkshire.
Three men were convicted at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on Monday, December 15. Each defendant was fined £200 and ordered to pay £100 costs. The court also ordered the forfeiture of their lurcher dogs.
A Norfolk landowner has been convicted under the Hunting Act 2004 for allowing her property to be used for hare coursing during two organised events, following a prosecution brought by the RSPCA. Evidence for the case was obtained by investigators from League Against Cruel Sports and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Mary Birbeck, of Little Massingham House, was found guilty yesterday of permitting land at Little Massingham to be used for hare coursing on 12 November 2007, and 8 January 2008, at King’s Lynn Magistrates Court. She was also convicted of two offences of attending a hare coursing event and offences of facilitating such an event. Les Anderson, of Lodge Road, Feltwell, was also convicted of two charges of attending a hare coursing event and three of knowingly facilitating such an event. Both were given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1000 costs. Anderson is chairman of the Kimberly and Wymondham Greyhound Club, which organised the two events at Little Massingham.
A man from Penrith and another from Skipton have been fined £200 each after hunting a fox with a dog and causing a dog to enter a badger sett. John Joseph Bowman, 19, of Lakeland View, Greengill, Penrith and William Smith, 27, of Keighley Road, Skipton pleaded guilty to both charges before Carlisle magistrates. Both men were prosecuted by the RSPCA under the Hunting Act 2004 after admitting their motivation for visiting the land with the dogs had been to find a fox.
Huntsman William Goffe and Whipper-in Gary Bradley of the Minehead Harriers pleaded guilty at Bridgwater Magistrates’ Court to hunting a wild mammal with dogs in a private prosecution brought by the League Against Cruel Sports. The offence took place the year before in February 2008 during which Goffe and Bradley were video recorded by League investigators pursuing a fox with a pack of hounds. The hunt’s solicitor, Tim Hayden, told the court that hounds had been following a trail but picked up the scent of a fox. Mr Goffe allowed the pursuit to continue when he realised the fox had mange. Tom Gliddon, chairman of the Minehead Harriers, said the hunt “William Goffe and Gary Bradley have acknowledged that during a trail hunt on the 7th February there was one short pursuit of a mammal which was in contravention of the Act”, adding “there was no suggestion that a fox was killed”. Both defendants were fined £300 and each asked to pay £500 towards legal costs. Gary Bradley, who rode a horse at an anti-hunt monitor, also pleaded guilty to a public order charge and has been fined £100.
Robert Smith and Watson admitted to illegally hunting with dogs. Each defendant was fined £100, with £60 costs.
Tony Wright, huntsman of the Exmoor Foxhounds won his appeal against his conviction for illegal fox hunting at Exeter Crown Court. The Judgment was delivered by Judge Cottle who stated in his conclusion “During this appeal we have enjoyed an extended opportunity to observe and to hear from the appellent and we have no doubt that he and the master of the hunt genuinely wished to comply with the Act. On that day, with the benefit of hindsight, the arrangements in place may not have been sufficient to ensure compliance with the Act but we are satisfied that the appellant has proved that he reasonably, perhaps, optimistically, had put in place safeguards that would ensue compliance with he Act”.
Two members of the Quantock Staghounds each lost their appeal after they were each convicted under the Hunting Act 2004 in June 2007 at Bristol Magistrates’ Court. On the 19th October 2007 at Taunton Crown Court Judge Wyn Williams upheld the original ruling that huntsman Richard Down and whipper-in Adrian Pillivant had been hunting primarily for sport and recreation. The pair had claimed to be hunting deer under the Flushing and stalking out exemption.
A gang of seven men Daniel Dooley, Darren Fairclough, Michael Smith, John Weeder and Paul Hoffman from Liverpool, Adam McIlvenna from Halewood and Kevin Walton from Knowsley were found guilty of hunting rats with dogs. Each was fined £400 and ordered to pay £65 court costs at St. Helen’s Magistrates Court.
Three men and a teenager pleaded guilty to illegally hunting foxes and badgers with dogs. Peter Blackhall, Thomas Bell, Adam Pengilley were fined £250 each with £80 costs, and ordered the immediate forfeiture of the Land Rover and the hunting equipment. The 17 year old teenager, who can not be named for legal reasons, was given a conditional discharge for 12 months with £80 costs. A 20-year-old man was given a caution.
William Armstrong, terrierman for the Flint and Denbigh Hunt in Wales, was found guilty of hunting a wild animal with dogs. He was fined £200 with £60 legal costs.
James Rooney from High Wycombe was convicted of coursing for hares in Northamptonshire and was fined £200 with £250 costs.
Huntsman of the Quantock Staghounds Richard Down and whipper-in Adrian Pillivant from Somerset were each convicted of illegally hunting deer with dogs contrary to S1 Hunting Act 2004 at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on the 7th June 2007. They were each fined £500 and ordered to pay £1000 costs. The case was brought as a private prosecution by the League Against Cruel Sports. Down, 44, and Pillivant, 36, had argued that they were using the ‘Stalking and flushing out’ exemption to flush out deer with dogs to three marksmen. They also said they had taken advice from police, lawyers and the Countryside Alliance (which supported the defendants case) and believed that the Quantock Staghounds, as well as the other two staghound packs, were operating within the law. The illegal hunting took place when the Quantock Staghounds met at Crowcombe near Taunton on the 16th February 2006. League investigators witnessed and recorded groups of deer being flushed out on three occasions over two and three quarter hours. The hunt claimed six deer were shot. District Judge Parsons concluded that the primary purpose of the hunt was “sport and recreation, preserving a way of life that the participants and the defendants are not prepared to give up” and stated that the pair were “disingenuous in attempting to deceive me into believing they were exempt hunting”. The Judge also stated “This was a continual act of hunting over a period of two and three quarter hours….some of the deer found in the first flush were present at the final flush… the dogs may well have been deployed in relay to use fresh dogs to chase the deer faster and harder, to tire them quicker and to compensate for having to hunt with only two dogs”. Down and Pillivant subsequently appealed the verdict but were unsuccessful – see above.
John Greenwood and Daniel Graves, both of Nelson in Lancashire were found guilty of hunting rabbits with lurchers. Greenwood was fined £100 with £95 costs and Graves was fined £50 with £95 costs.
William Winter from Cambridge pleaded guilty at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates Court after being accused of chasing and killing a hare at Wickfield, near Stowmarket, Suffolk. He was fined £500 with £60 costs. (East Anglian Daily Times, 5/3/07)
Mark Walsh and Terence Williams from Liverpool pleaded guilty in Chester Magistrates Court of hunting for foxes. Williams was fined £500 and Walsh was fined £500 with £2,896.07 costs payable to the RSPCA who prosecuted him. The court also ordered the forfeiture of one dog plus spades and collars. In November, Paul Kelly of Liverpool pleaded guilty for the same offence and was fined £500 with £2,846.09 costs and also had his terrier confiscated. In March 2007, Paul McMullen of Bootle was convicted for the same offence and was fined £750, ordered to pay £5,000 in costs and ordered to hand two dogs into RSPCA care.
Tony Wright, huntsman with the Exmoor Foxhounds, was found guilty of hunting a wild mammal with dogs at Barnstaple Magistrates’ Court in a private prosecution taken out by the League Against Cruel Sports. District Judge Palmer fined him £500 and ordered him to pay £250 costs after a week long hearing. Wright pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge of hunting a fox in April 2005 at Brenden Common, Lynton, Devon. He claimed that he had been hunting under the ‘Stalking and flushing out’ exemption. The Judge said “I understand the difficulty everyone has with the Act coming into force…What I saw was not exempt hunting”. Wright had argued that his two dogs remained under his close control during the hunt and a marksman was ready to shoot fleeing foxes as soon as possible after being flushed, conditions required under the exemption. However, the prosecution had successfully argued that Wright, who had been a hunt professional all his adult life, had been leading a traditional hunt and pursuing foxes rather than flushing them from cover. Wright told the court the hunt had flushed out five foxes one of which was shot. Judge Palmer said the video evidence showed the hounds following the line of a fox at speed without immediately being called off and there was a substantial period of chase for each of the two foxes seen in the footage. Long after the foxes had been flushed they were being pursued by the hounds, which in the Judge’s view was hunting. He said no reasonable steps were taken to shoot the foxes as soon as possible and the dogs were not under close control as required by the legislation (Wright appealed the verdict and was later acquitted at Exeter Crown Court in November 2007. See above).
Adam Pengilley was charged with offences against the Hunting Act 2004 and pleaded guilty at South Sefton Magistrates Court on the 6 October 2005. He admitted that he had been hunting rabbits on the estate without permission from the landowners and therefore his hunting with dogs was not exempt. He was fined £155 with £35 costs.
Stephen Scott, from Hawick, was fined £300 at Jedburgh Sheriff Court for sending two terriers into a fox earth and using a lurcher to pursue and kill the fox. He was fined £300.
David Murray from Dundee was found guilty after using two dogs to lure foxes into a trap. He was fined £150. Successful convictions for hare coursing Six men have pleaded guilty to charges of hare coursing at Harlow Magistrates’ Court. Alfred Harris, 21, George Stevens, 20, Danny Harris, 21, Robert Harris, 22, Sam Harris, 20, all from South East London, and Shaun Clark, 37, from Basildon. Five of the men were ordered to pay a £275 fine, £100 in costs and £15 victim surcharge payment and the sixth, Clark, received a £350 fine, £100 costs and £15 victim surcharge. The car used at the scene will be crushed by police.
Alec Reid of Croy, near Nairn, and Stephen Stewart of Inverness pleaded guilty to deliberately hunting hares with dogs in a field at Alves, near Forres. Reid and Stewart were each fined £250.
Colin Stewart, who was already in prison for an earlier offence, had 60 days added to his sentence. Booth and Leslie were sentenced to 80 hours’ community service while Sim was fined £300 and Stewart was put on probation for a year.
Kevin Leslie of Aberdeen, Steven Booth, Michael Sim, Colin Stewart and Donald Stewart all pleaded guilty at Stonehaven Sheriff Court of hare coursing.
James MacDonald, Samuel MacDonald and Shaun Mahon from Kirkcaldy were convicted of hare coursing in September 2004. James MacDonald was banned from keeping dogs for three years at Perth Sheriff Court and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service. Samuel Macdonald and Shaun Mahon were fined £250 each.