THREE hunt supporters have been cleared of robbing two “saboteurs” of their camcorders at a meet near Alresford.
A four-week trial at Winchester Crown Court, which ended today (April 3), saw Peter Bogris, 30, of Petersfield, George Juer, 26, of Alton, and Wayne Spencer, 40, Billingshurst, West Sussex, all accused of robbery and affray.
They were said to have attacked “hunt monitors” Iris Luppa and Stella Hardy, both from the Reading area, at a meet of the Hampshire Hunt on February 24 last year.
The prosecution alleged that the trio took the cameras by force as the two women were “surrounded” by hunt followers on a path in countryside near Preston Candover.
Mr Bogris, Mr Juer and Mr Spencer denied the allegations and a jury took an hour-and-a-half to find them not guilty of all charges.
Giving evidence, Miss Hardy, 34, said: “The first male, who drove the quad, tried to get my camera out of my hand and the second male had me by my hair.
“I was forced to the ground by both of these men.”
Miss Hardy said the man on the quad bike was Mr Bogris and he was aided by an unknown man.
Miss Luppa said it was Mr Spencer who grabbed her camera and that she was then attacked from behind by Mr Juer.
Labelling the alleged victims as “hunt saboteurs”, the defence on behalf of Mr Bogris and Mr Juer said that the pair were on the path at the time and that an argument erupted over Miss Hardy filming children, but said the women fabricated what happened.
Mr Bogris, a farmer, said he was looking after a three-year-old boy for the day as he drove around on his quad bike.
“She (Stella Hardy) did approach me directly, she was making an attempt to video the boy sat on my lap.”
He said she said she was “only interested in filming the kiddies”, a comment which caused a lot of offence.
Mr Bogris added: “It ended up in a bit of pushing and shoving, a woman got involved.
“The boy got quite upset by this stage, so I got back on the quad and continued on for a little while.”
Mr Juer, a gun dealer, said he told Miss Hardy to stop filming the youngsters and that during the “pushing and shoving” on the path, Miss Luppa was pushed into him and they both fell over.
He said Miss Hardy ran up to him and shouted abuse, pointing her finger at him. He pointed back and she grabbed his finger and bent it down hard, before hitting him on the chin.
Mr Spencer’s counsel said he was at least 40 yards away from the scuffle when it happened.
The pig farmer said he saw screaming and shouting further down the path, but did not get involved – he was wary having been previously convicted of common assault after an incident at a past hunt.
“I knew not to go down there,” he said.