30th September 2019
A video showing four “big dogs” attacking a badger was shared on people’s phones, a court has heard.
Four men – Christian Latcham, 32, from Porth, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Thomas Young, 26, from Newbridge, Caerphilly, Cyle Jones, 31 and Jamie Rush, 27, both from Brecon, Powys – are on trail at Cardiff Crown Court.
They deny attempting to kill, injure or take a badger in Llanddewi Velfrey in Pembrokeshire on 24 March 2018.
They were arrested after a TV probe.
The court heard an RSPCA inquiry was launched following the undercover investigation by BBC Wales Investigates after the programmes was broadcast in May 2018.
On the opening day of the trial, prosecutor Jon Tarrant told the court: “There is ample evidence here that they were attempting to take a badger”.
He told the court undercover footage of the defendants, recorded in a forested area, provided “factual evidence” of badgers.
He said: “In a nutshell, the prosecution say this is direct factual evidence of the presence of badgers”.
However, Mr Tarrant said he accepted “no badger was actually caught by the defendants”.
The court was shown undercover footage of a conversation between Thomas Young and an undercover journalist.
In the video Mr Young can be heard saying “in all the times I’ve been hunting” he had never seen a “billy roll over and die”.
The court was told the defendants referred to badgers as “billys” or “pigs”.
He continued: “I used to shoot cows for a living, and horses and sheep.”
In the footage Mr Young tells the journalist he had been sent a video of “four big dogs” attacking one badger for 10 minutes.
He said: “That’s how it looks barbaric, because it goes on for so long.”
In other footage, Mr Young said: “That’s why I don’t use the word badger.”
He added “going to dig a badger” sounded “horrible”.
The trial heard from Malcolm Ingham, a ranger of 35 years.
He said after reviewing undercover footage and visiting the site he believed the badger set “had been active for some significant time”.
But under cross examination he said: “Could I categorically say that sett was 100% badger? No I could not.”
The case, heard by District Judge Neil Thomas, continues.