Saturday, August 05, 2006


First man convicted over foxhunting ban
Channel 4 News

The first person to be convicted of illegally hunting foxes has been fined £500 after a week-long trial. The private prosecution against Exmoor Foxhounds huntsman Tony Wright from Simonsbath in Somerset was brought by the League Against Cruel Sports. The prosecution followed video evidence of the meet gathered by league officers Edmund Shepherd and Graham Floyd.

Mr Wright pleaded not guilty at Barnstaple Magistrates Court after the Foxhounds said they were operating under an "exempt hunting" provision in the Act.

The judge told Wright: "I understand the difficulty that everyone has with the act coming into force. What I saw was not exempt hunting."

Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: "No right minded person thinks that Tony Wright should have been branded a criminal." He added: "If people were confused about the Hunting Act before today they will be a lot more confused now. We believe that he was trying to comply with the law as he understood it and will be supporting his appeal.

"Any law which can put a man like Tony Wright through nine months of court action and tell him he is a criminal for doing something he believed was entirely legal clearly isn't working."

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