Friday, 4 September 2009

Further Condemnation of the Hunting Act

This is an extract from the Countryside Alliance's weekly newsletter: This week, Clarissa Dickson Wright and Sir Mark Prescott faced a private prosecution by animal rights group IFAW in relation to two year old hare coursing charges. The judge accepted a guilty plea from the pair in their absence having heard a case earlier this summer against Yorkshire farmers Peter Easterby and John Shaw involving the same incidents. Like the pair before them, Clarissa and Sir Mark were also granted an absolute discharge and, despite all the money IFAW had spent bringing the case, the Judge awarded them no costs whatsoever, commenting that there were "complexities within the Hunting Act which made the administration of it a little difficult," and "everybody in this case has had extreme difficulty trying to wrestle what exactly Parliament meant in the 2004 Hunting Act". All four of the people involved in the case believed their actions were legal. Even the Judge had difficulty clarifying what the law meant. She was also extremely critical of IFAW and questioned why they had brought charges against Sir Mark and Miss Dickson Wright, but not against their own employees, who had paid to enter the Greyhound Field Trialling event and were therefore (under the terms of the Hunting Act) also clearly guilty of "attending" a hare coursing event. This pointless prosecution is further illustration of why the Hunting Act must be repealed.

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