Charges of illegal hunting brought against six members of the Lamerton Foxhounds in Devon (UK) by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) collapsed in court. The LACS dropped all charges when a previously undisclosed relationship between the League and one of its key witnesses was discovered.
Expert witness Stephen Harris, professor of environmental sciences at Bristol University, had failed to disclose connections with the League’s head of operations Paul Tillsley.
The case was a private prosecution brought by LACS and supported by evidence collected by that organization’s own “investigative officers.” LACS initiated the case privately because the police had determined earlier that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner said: “This appalling case raises a series of fundamental questions about the abuse of the criminal justice system.”
Bonner accused the LACS of spending more than £100,000 of its contributors’ money on a “vindictive” prosecution that police had earlier judged not to reach the standard required of a proper prosecution.
LACS dropped all charges against defendants Joint-Master George Moyse, huntsman David Lewis, whipper-in Steve Craddock, and terrier men Wayne Bartlett, Gilmore Lewis, and Stephen Mitchell. The six had denied the charges from the start.
Click for the complete story in the Western Morning News.
Posted December 17, 2015