By TristanCork | Posted: September 11, 2014
Three leading members of one of the West’s biggest hunts will stand trial next year on charges of breaking the ban on hunting.
The two joint masters of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, David Greenwood and Rupert Andrews, are charged with one count of illegally hunting a deer during a meet at Warren’s Farm in Simonsbath on Exmoor almost exactly a year ago, on September 14, 2013.
Mr Greenwood is also charged alongside huntsman Donald Summersgill for illegally hunting on a second occasion at Coppleham Cross on October 24 last year.
The case has been brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, and not as a private prosecution by either the League Against Cruel Sports or the RSPCA. It was brought to court by the CPS on the basis of evidence obtained by League monitors, and after more investigation by the police.
The trio, who have denied all the charges, will stand trial on February 2 next year. The Countryside Alliance has consistently called for the case to be dropped, and yesterday were calling for a review of the way the CPS is bringing prosecutions for illegal hunting, after a case in Cumbria collapsed.
Edward Liddle, the huntsman with the Melbreak Hunt, had been charged with illegal hunting back in March, but earlier today the CPS dropped the charge.
Countryside Alliance director of campaigns Tim Bonner said: “Mr Liddle and the Melbreak cooperated fully with the police inquiries from the start and there was never any evidence that Mr Liddle had been in breach of either act, therefore we were surprised when Cumbria Constabulary chose to pursue their inquiries. It was even more inexplicable when the CPS then chose to bring charges against Mr Liddle.
“There was no chance that the case could ever have proceeded to a conviction and all it has achieved is a waste of police and court time and tax-payer’s money and has put Mr Liddle through a completely unnecessary process.
“The Melbreak hunt has operated within the law since the Hunting Act came into force and has huge support from the local community. We are very confident that their activities are entirely legitimate,” he added.
North West Hunt Saboteurs Association
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ManchesterHuntSabs
Direct Action Against All Forms of bloodsports