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22nd October 2015

Questions To Answer Following Latest Wildlife Crime Injustice

Middleton Hunt supporter Lee Martin at the badger sett he blocked "to prevent a fox escaping from a chasing pack."

News on Wednesday 21 October 2015 of another successful hunter appealing conviction has left Hounds Off totally confused. Here’s the background:

We hear that in March 2014 investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports used remote camera technology to film badgers going in and out of their sett for a few nights prior to the Middleton Fox Hunt meeting in the area. Some of this film was of badgers taking bedding down their holes.

Then, on the morning of the fox hunt, they filmed an active supporter of the Middleton Fox Hunt blocking the holes. On subsequent nights, more footage of badgers at the holes was obtained by the same investigators in the same way. The hunt supporter was convicted under the Badger Protection Act but appealed his conviction. He was cleared on Appeal at York Crown Court.

The Yorkshire Post reported the reason for blocking the hole. “The aim was to prevent the fox escaping from a chasing pack during the Middleton Hunt, which was due to meet on March 29 last year,” their article said.

They further reported, “Crucially, there was no evidence that the sett was in use on the day of the hunt. Mr Jameson QC, who was sitting with magistrates, said that although it was obvious that Martin [the hunt supporter] had blocked entrances to the sett, ‘we do not think that the evidence alone can prove there were signs of current use by a badger’.”

Our eyes-rolling reaction to this wildlife crime injustice starts with the fact that badgers are shy, nocturnal by nature and quite domestic in the spring. Was film of badgers introducing fresh bedding not enough evidence of badgers at home, most likely with young? Indeed, was this vital evidence used and if not why not? How fully prepared was the CPS Barrister? Who were the expert witnesses (from both sides) and how ‘expert’ were they really? What on earth was Judge Jameson thinking and why? We could go on.

But also, and this is a massive ask in the current political climate, how can illegal fox hunting be a reason for blocking the badger sett in the first place? In their report on the case, the Yorkshire Post opens with this; “A fox-hunting devotee has won his appeal against a conviction for blocking up badger setts to give huntsmen and hounds a better chance of reaching their quarry.”

The Countryside Alliance trots out their predictable spiel about wildlife crime fighting being a waste of taxpayers money, like they give a damn.

Wildlife crime fighting is important because abusing animals is not good for the animals that suffer or the damaged individuals who enjoy it. We stand with the compassionate 80% majority who agree, the investigators who work tirelessly to expose it, and policemen like Jez Walmsley from Malton Nick. It’s a mark of the man that eight years after contributing significantly to a high profile hare coursing prosecution in his back yard, and many more besides, he’s still seeking justice for hunted wildlife.

Alas, in this case almost everyone else has serious questions to answer.

© Joe Hashman

Read more: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/hunting-enthusiast-wins-his-court-appeal-1-7525721#ixzz3pK3CZorr

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10 Comments | Leave a comment

  • Gill Kilroy says:
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    true hypocrAcy to the enth degree! The only reason I can think of the Judge not using the video,footage that categorically proves the setts were in use is corruption, maybe sounds harsh , but I can,t,think of any other reason to purposely exclude it !! bY rights the lawyers should counter the Appeal,with another appeal stating this fact!

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  • Neal says:
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Sickening. But you missed one question…

    What do the magistrates do at weekends?

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  • Graham Shepherd says:
    Posted October 24, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    So who is going to appeal or do something about it?

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    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted October 25, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Dealing with the details and consequences of this matter is beyond the control of Hounds Off; this was not our case. We are merely raising the issues which seem to us to be glaringly obvious. It is for those involved to look deeply at the component parts they played and what, if anything, could have been done differently. It seems to us that wildlife crime involving registered hound packs is heavily protected by resources and personnel throughout ‘the system’, who exist solely to undermine any legislation which curtails their preferred form of animal abuse. We fear that until killing wildlife for amusement becomes socially unacceptable this will always be so.
      Hounds Off wishes the League Against Cruel Sports well.

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  • Gillian kilroy says:
    Posted October 25, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Yes the magistrates are probably hunters too! However it,is really up,to the prosecution lawyer to push the points you mention above, the bedding etc etc. Like a broken record and outsmart these disgusting excuses for our justice system!

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  • Barbara Rowe says:
    Posted October 26, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Sadly, typical outcome from those who sit in high places and have no hearts.

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  • richard says:
    Posted October 26, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    whats the name of the guy who got away with it?

    Reply to this comment >
    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted October 26, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Please refer to the photograph which accompanies our blog.

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  • E Dumbleton says:
    Posted November 03, 2015 at 9:14 am


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  • bradders says:
    Posted December 14, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    i think the judge was a hunt supporter!

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