Waveney Harriers Hunt Monitors’ charge dismissed
Sonn Macmillan Walker acted for 6 hunt monitors at Ipswich Magistrates' Court. The prosecution alleged that they had interfered with the lawful activity of the Waveney Harriers who previously hunted hares but who now trail hunt.
The hunt monitors were concerned to ensure that the Waveney Harriers were not hunting in contravention of the Hunting Act 2004 and attended to observe the hunt. They were escorted throughout by police officers. Individuals saw a fox being pursued by the hounds. They immediately complained to police that the hunt was illegally hunting live quarry (ie in contravention of the Hunting Act). The hunt monitors proceeded to disrupt the hunt and call the hounds off the live quarry. They were subsequently prosecuted for aggravated trespass for this. They were said by the prosecution to have disrupted the lawful activity of trail hunting. At the end of the prosecution case it was submitted that there was no case to answer. The defendants accepted they had trespassed and that they had disrupted an activity, but said that it was an unlawful activity. The prosecution claimed this was an unfair ambush and the argument should not be entertained. The Court noted that not only had complaint been made at the time that the hunt were acting unlawfully, but the defence had asserted this to be the main issue at trial since the first hearing. We successfully argued that the prosecution had not proved their case as they had not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the hunt was acting lawfully. This was a complex argument following case law from the Supreme Court and analysing the lack of evidence adduced by the prosecution. The result was that the Court dismissed the charge of aggravated trespass against our clients. Tim Walker and Richard Easton were the advocates