Today Cathy Scott was found not guilty of three counts of causing harassment, alarm or distress under Section 4 and 5 of the Public Order Act at Loughbourgh Magistrates Court. Three senior members of the Atherstone Hunt which included the Huntsman and Joint-master Mike Lane, Joint-master Mark Halford and the hunts only employee Oliver Hope had made allegations claiming Scott had sworn at them and threatened them on the 5th August at the hunts kennels. Scott was peacefully protesting with West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs at the Atherstone Hunts hound racing event which was being held at the kennels. Video footage from the day proved the allegations to be false.
The court heard statements from the three members of the hunt who all claimed Scott had been screaming, swearing and threatening them, however the defence played the court footage of the day in question which completely disproved their allegations. The footage showed a very calm, quiet and low key demonstration outside the hunts kennels.
The Atherstone Hunt are close to financial collapse due to the constant exposure they have had from West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs. If Scott had been found guilty all three members of the Atherstone Hunt could have applied for restraining orders effectively banning Scott from protesting against the Atherstone Hunt.
When summing up the magistrates said the three hunt members where not credible and had changed their statements halfway through once they realised there was video footage.
Scott said “I’m pleased with the result but disappointed that this case was allowed to get as far as it did. Serious questions now need to be asked about Leicestershire Police and why they allowed three members of the Atherstone Hunt to make allegations about me without providing any proper evidence to corroborate their allegations.
I view this as a malicious prosecution by Leicestershire Police. They allowed no proper evidence to be submitted and when the CPS were presented with video footage before the trial showing what actually happened Leicestershire Police and the CPS actually tried to stop the footage from being shown.”
A spokesperson for West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs said:
“As for the Atherstone Hunt and its supporters we are used to their violence and lies that have resulted in over 20 convictions and cautions in the last 4 years. But this is a very serious line they have crossed which could have resulted in an innocent person being sent to prison. Three senior members of the Atherstone Hunt, the Huntsman, Joint-master and their only employee have all in our opinion conspired to bring false charges and they need to be investigated for that. As for the hunt itself I don’t think there is any other option left now apart from the hunts governing body the Master of Fox Hounds Association (MFHA) to disband the hunt completely.
The only reason this case got as far as it did is because of the police. We believe members of Leicestershire Police assisted the Atherstone Hunt over these charges or at the very least turned a blind eye to the lack of evidence to back up the false allegations. We are now seeking legal advice”
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said: “It's unbelievable that Leicestershire Police are aiding the Atherstone Hunt, an organised criminal gang, to persecute West Midland Hunt Saboteurs who are ensuring the law of the land is enforced. We ask that Leicestershire Police and the Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner carry out an internal enquiry to find out how this has been allowed to happen. If the public are to have any faith that Leicestershire Police are not totally corrupt then they need to find out who was responsible for this farce and ensure there are severe consequences. Many of our groups in the region have told us that they will have nothing to do with Leicestershire Police until they prove that they're not hand in glove with the hunting community and we fully support their stance.”
Notes for editors:
For more information call 07767620767
Case reference number: 33JJ1808317
In 2016 the wildlife officer for Leicestershire Police was outed as a member of the Belvior fox hunt and was subsequently forced to resign her role as wildlife officer
In October last year the current wildlife officer for Leicestershire Police was recorded in an audio recording taken at a meeting with members and supporters of the Atherstone Hunt. He can be heard advising them on which laws can and can not be used against hunt saboteurs.
This is not the first time Leicestershire Police have targeted this particular member of West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs, they arrested her after she refused a stop and search in 2014 after she told them it was an unlawful stop and search. The case was thrown out of court after the judge agreed with her that it was unlawful. Emails obtained via the Data Protection Act revealed that the CPS had originally wanted to drop the case and had also come to the conclusion that the stop and search was unlawful. However Leicestershire Police put pressure on the CPS to continue with the prosecution as they were worried that it would “expose the force to litigation”.
In 2015 Leicestershire Police issued the same hunt saboteur with a Police Information Notice (harassment notice). This had similarities with the most recent case above in that members of the Atherstone Hunt had made allegations with no actual evidence to collaborate their claims. The harassment notice was eventually overturned and an official apology was made by Leicestershire Police who agreed the harassment notice had been misused.
Unbelievably Leicestershire Police issued a second harassment notice to the same person again based just on an allegation made by a member of the Atherstone hunt with no evidence to collaborate it. After Scott made a formal complaint a senior officer overturned the harassment notice as they were unable to find any evidence for issuing it in the first place. Leicestershire Police stopped using Police Information Notice’s completely after this.
Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 4th April 2018
The trial of John Mease and the, now retired, Fitzwilliam huntsman George Adams took place at Peterborough Magistrates court yesterday and today. The offences related to the death of a fox close to Wansford on New Years Day 2016. Sabs from several local groups attended and witnessed the hunt kill the fox and it was their evidence from both statements and video footage which secured the conviction along with Professor Stephen Harris acting as expert witness. The trial ended a long period of delays and court politics as the Countryside Alliance tried to scupper this high profile trial at every turn.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:
“To anyone who witnessed the events on the day in question it was abundantly clear that a wild mammal was hunted and killed illegally, in a most gruesome manner. Although a fox had to suffer and die due to the blatant and remorseless actions of the defendants we are pleased that hunt saboteurs were able to bring at least one of them (Huntsman at the time, Geroge Adams) to justice and would like to thank Cambridgeshire police who conducted a robust and unbiased investigation.
The loopholes and exemptions in the current act have always been cynically exploited by hunts in order to operate much as they would have done prior to the ban. The guilty verdict today proves that hunting with a full pack of hounds is not the same as Falconry and the judge in summing up confirmed as much. The outcome today will of course have wider reaching implications for all those hunts around the country who claim to use this exemption.
We will continue to vigorously oppose those who gain enjoyment from the torture and killing of our wildlife and will use all the tools at our disposal to those ends. We have the overwhelming support of the general public who wish to see an end to the barbaric minority pass time.”
Hunt Saboteurs Association Press Release 31st March 2018
Devon County Hunt Sabs & Somerset Hunt Saboteur Group sabbed the closing meet of the Modbury Harriers at Brownstone Manor near Holbeton, Devon today. Early in the afternoon sabs stopped hounds chasing a fox that was being actively hunted on by huntsman Harry Gosling. The illegal hunting was caught on camera.
Shortly after, two sabs were viciously attacked by a group of 6 terriermen attached to the hunt. They grabbed the female sab and pulled her to the ground, punching her in the head repeatedly. They stopped the male sab from trying to defend her, pushing him down a hill and punching and kicking him. Two quad bikes were driven into him, knocking him to the ground, and a quad bike was deliberately driven over his legs multiple times while he was on the ground. They then pinned him against the quad bike and ripped his body camera and radio off him.
The thugs made away with all the sabs’ equipment and personal possessions, including bags, a radio and the cameras that had footage of the fox being hunted and the assaults. The assaulted sabs received black eyes, leg injuries and cuts and bruises.
Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “ We have come to terms with the fact that police forces will generally side with illegal hunters rather than hunt saboteurs but even in this biased world Devon and Cornwall Police are one of the worst. They consistently turn a blind eye to illegal hunting and assaults on the saboteurs who try and stop it. We would normally ask the public to contact the Police and Crime Commissioner to force the police to act but as Alison Hernandez, the Devon and Cornwall PCC, is a well known proponent of hunting there seems little point.
We ask that people contact Devon & Cornwall Police and ask what they are doing to locate the six culprits, whose details they have, to recover the evidence of the assaults and the stolen property. Also to ask them what they are doing in general about illegal hunting and hunt violence which goes unpunished week after week.
Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 14th March 2018
Surrey Union whipper-in Rob Mardles was arrested on Tuesday for assaulting and spitting on a female hunt sab at the end of a days illegal hunting.
Frustrated that Guildford and North Downs sabs had ruined one of their final meets of the season Mardles pushed the sab into a ditch and spat on her. She was kept in hospital overnight with an injured back and had to use a wheelchair upon her release.
The Surrey Union have previous for assaulting sabs. In 2017 hunt master Lulu Hutley, Godmother to Princess Eugenie, was filmed hitting a sab with her whip.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: “This week former footballer and Sky News pundit, Jamie Carragher, has been suspended after being filmed spitting at a car. We'd hope that the Surrey Union will follow suit and suspend their employee Rob Mardles whilst the police investigation is carried out.
With Lulu Hutley as one of their masters the hunt are clearly influential and we hope this doesn't affect the police investigation. Justice must be seen to be done against these violent countryside criminals or questions will be asked of Surrey Police. We wish the sab concerned a full and speedy recovery.”
The HSA can today expose illegal hunting by a beagle pack associated with one of Britain's top public schools. The £34,392 a year Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire encourages its students to participate in hunts by the Ampleforth Beagles.
In their 2017 newsletter, published on the official website of the Ampleforth Society, the hunt boast of their membership of the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles which they claim organises events "especially designed for young hare hunters." Elsewhere in the newsletter, the huntsman Toby Pedley gives a detailed account of an event at Cote Hill, Farndale that can only be an illegal hare hunt.
HSA Press Officer Lee Moon commented, "Hunting hares with beagles has been illegal for a generation. It is therefore extremely concerning that Ampleforth College have used their website to to promote the work of the AMHB with "young hare hunters" and publish a thinly-disguised account of a gruelling hour-long hare hunt. If the college want to refute our allegations they simply need to take an independent observer onto the moors and demonstrate how such a hunt is legally produced using "trails." We know, however, that they will decline this invitation as trail hunting is a total fiction."
Read the full HSA report here: