‘Hunter should have been charged with robbery’, says charity boss
An employee of the West Somerset Vale Fox Hounds has today been convicted of assault by beating, after he attacked Paul Tillsley, an investigations officer for the League Against Cruel Sports.
Mr Tillsley was monitoring the activity of the West Somerset Vale Fox Hounds on 29th March, when David Bevan, attached, the hunt’s whipper-in, attacked him and took his video camera. Mr Bevan was given a conditional discharge for twelve months, and ordered to pay £150 compensation and £85 costs at Taunton Magistrates Court earlier today.
“Mr Bevan used his horse to push me along while he struck me a number of times with the handle of his whip,” said Mr Tillsley. “He then knocked me down and pinned me to the ground while he forcibly took my camcorder from me and gave it to another man. As a result of the assault I sustained cuts and bruises to my head, arms and ribs and I had to attend hospital on two occasions.”
The League’s chief executive, Joe Duckworth, said that he was surprised and disappointed that Bevan had only been charged with assault. “It strikes me that if a man had pinned someone down and stolen his camera on the streets of London, he’d be in jail now,” said Mr Duckworth. “We think it was a very poor decision on the part of the Crown Prosecution Service that Mr Bevan wasn’t charged with robbery.”
Mr Duckworth said that this case demonstrated the arrogance of members of the hunting community. “Hunters maraud around the countryside with little or no regard for other people. We’re gearing up for the start of the hunting season and we know that our Hunt Crimewatch service will be inundated with calls from people experiencing hunts’ anti-social behaviour,” he said. “You have to be brave to stand up to these rural bullies but today’s conviction shows that they can be held to account.