Just a short update this week as I had hoped to be making the final preparations for my time in court as a witness for the prosecution of the 2 members of the Fitzwilliam Hunt. When you consider the offence took place on the 01/01/16 you begin to understand that the legal process is not something which proceeds quickly and there is good reason for that. However the when dates and locations for the hearing get changed multiple times it can get somewhat frustrating.

The case was supposed to be heard this week (26/27th) at Chelsmford Magistrates but I was contacted by a court official only last week and informed that the case would now be heard in August at Colchester Magistrates. While this delay is annoying the reasons behind it could be deemed to be in the prosecutions favour. Due to the high profile of the case it couldn’t be heard in the county where the offence took place (Cambridgeshire) so other courts and magistrates had to be considered. I was informed the reason for the late delay was due to “court politics”. According to a legal expert who has been advising me court politics usually refers to a “magistrate that was due to hear the case that had obviously expressed some views about hunting which compromised their ability to hear the case objectively”.

Adams_Mease

George Adams & John Mease

This being the case I guess I should be pleased with the delay although that statement could be taken in the both for and against (hunting) points of view. Further details from the court official once again highlighted that this particular case was more akin to that of a murder trial (to be honest I consider it a murder trial of the fox on that fateful day) in that it is being heavily scrutinised and is also the first time the use of the Bird of Prey Exemption has been challenged in the courts.

The investigating officer also contacted me the day after asking if we were all ready to go and I had to inform him of the further delays as he was unaware. From his point of view it made no difference as he wouldn’t have to attend the court on the day. Even though he was the investigating officer he didn’t conduct any of the interviews so wouldn’t be cross examined by the defence, as this was done by more senior colleagues from the serious crime section, another sign that things were being taken very seriously indeed.

While preparing for my day in court I did go over my statement and also reviewed the video footage. It doesn’t get any easier to watch and of course in my mind there can be only one outcome but, this is the Hunting Act and nothing is straight forward where that is concerned.

Comments
  1. Rupert Mitchell says:

    How very frustrating and such a delay is really indicative of the poor managements by the courts of today. I congratulate you on your continued perseverance and I am sure you have thousands of animal lovers behind you. I appreciate of course that it is very important that any judge dealing with the case has no known bias.

  2. Lorraine Gagin says:

    Thank you for info…can now understand why it takes so long.even tho I don’t agree..I expect you have to be aware of the tactics the defence might be throwing out…
    Their biggest mistake is thinking sabs are ignorant peasants. ..
    Good luck.

  3. Jon Walker says:

    If the case went ahead right now, it could attract some adverse publicity for the pro-hunt lobby during the run up to the election. I do hope the reasons for the slow application of the legal process isn’t due to such considerations.

  4. Alan Kirby says:

    ‘Court politics’ here surely primarily involves delaying tactics by the defence and/or a CPS that doesn’t really want to prosecute successfully, both of which, in hunting cases, we see over and over again. The defence wouldn’t delay so much if they didn’t think it increased the chances of their clients being acquitted or charges being dropped – and how many times have we seen that happen? If this concerned indictable offences such delay might be excusable. But they are summary offences, supposed to be dealt with expeditiously. 20 months is taking the piss.

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