Posts Tagged ‘George Adams’

The battle between those who kill for fun and compassionate who aim to stop them has, and is, being fought on many levels. The front line in the fields of this country is of course where it matters most and were lives are saved but social media has added an extra field on which battle lines can be drawn and there’s no doubt in this department those against hunting have the upper hand.

However in the past there have been other battles fought, this time within the British legal system where hunts have taken their obvious financial advantage and attempted to use in an effort to gain immunity from the attentions of monitors and sab groups alike. I’ve covered this issue before (see here) but those keeping abreast of more recent matters will be aware of the Injunction the Fitzwilliam Hunt have taken out against both myself and several named others.

Before I comment further on the case it should be noted that this legal action could be considered the last big gamble being taken by the Fitzwilliam and most importantly a testament to the effectiveness of our actions over the last couple of seasons. Even though the hunt is owned by Sir Philip Neylor-Leyland (who’s worth in excess of £180M) they are clearly worried, having noted in the court submission that their membership is down by one third and this they lay firmly at our door. We obviously take pride in this and the lives we save by undertaking these actions. If you have any doubt about the type of person we’re dealing with here, prior to it’s banning, Neylor-Leyland was president of the National Coursing Club. He clearly refuses to acknowledge that hunting is also illegal and so throws his considerable financial weight behind the court action in an effort to prop up this failing venture.

The interim hearing took place at the High Court on the 1st November with Mr Justice Freedman presiding.

I took several pages of notes while the hunt’s solicitor bumbled and bluffed his way through their skeleton argument and this could have be concluded in much shorter order and it was clear the evidence presented was poorly organised and very much based on a single theme, that of trespass. Much of what was presented appeared to be confusing and lacking in any kind of accuracy which is demanded by the court. Some of their evidence was nothing more than an utter fabrication. This went on for so long our QC (Ashley Underwood) only had from 2:50pm to the close to put forward our side of the case. The excessively long submission from the hunt would appear to have been planned in an effort to minimse time for our own.

However Ashley spoke concisely and proved hugely superior in both understanding and eloquence in spite of the limited time allowed for our argument. He pointed out the illegality of the hunts methods, the accuracy (or lack therein) of the hunts evidence and the number of contradictions within it, their continued use of false earths, the assaults committed by their supporters and their overall “Victorian attitude” towards land ownership in that any injunction would be purely in an effort to facilitate their continued illegality.

After all of this Mr Justice Freedman let the court know he would take time to consider his verdict and this would be made public on the 16th November.

Exterior of the Royal Courts of Justice in London, commonly called the Law Courts

We now have the ruling and the salient points are thus:

1- There was evidence of repeated trespass by 7 of the Sabs and ‘persons unknown’ and ordered an injunction until a full trial (expected to be March 2019). This would only apply to the land owned by the the hunt, no third parties had applied for an injunction so there would be no injunction in place if the Fitzwilliam left their own land.

2 – He found insufficient evidence against another 7 Sabs and lifted an injunction granted earlier against them and also that there was no justified claim for a harassment injunction.

3 – He refused to order Sabs not to touch Hunt animals. “If animals are permitted to roam, members of the public ought to be able to touch them (without harming them) if they are coming into their own space” This was part of the Trespass to Goods injunction claimed by the hunt and something else which was not approved by the judge (it should be noted that as animals are owned the by the hunt they are classed as goods).

4 – On violence against Sabs:“The 2 defendants did not commit an assault, and they seem to have been pushed. I shall assume that the better of the argument in respect of assaults and criminal damage are that they were caused by the Hunt”. Once again the hunts claims were completely trashed and their statements considered less than truthful.

5 – On whether the Fitzwilliam commits Hunting Act offences he noted: “(The defendants barrister) has made out a persuasive argument that the hunting is illegal. (The Hunt’s barrister) was not able to say much in response about detailed arguments”.

While the injunction for trespass is still in place this can be considered a victory more than a loss. The duty of the judge is to maintain separation between the conflicting parties and the easiest way to do with was to enforce the current trespass injunction however the hunt were denied their requests on pretty much every other aspect of what they were claiming for and crucially their integrity (with regard to evidence supplied) being called into question along with the legality of their hunting methods. Only 3% of what they actually claimed for was granted.

Ex Fitzwilliam Huntsman George Adams

This will clearly have further ramifications with regards to the appeal against the conviction of their previous huntsman, George Adams as their methods of hunting and claimed use of hunting exemptions has not changed.

The full trial is the next step. Are options are twofold;  Settle or fight. As the Surrey Hunt Monitors tweeted: In the words of one wise barrister “no client ever regretted settling”. But fighting on is also realistic and the hunt should fear a trial more than you as it will expose the realities of hunting even more. But sensible cost protection measures needed. Cost protection indeed, a full trial is likely to see costs in the region of £500K.

 

As you’ve probably guessed by now I’ve been away for a couple of weeks. I’ll get to that in a moment as it applies to what I’m going to quickly report on next.

So, the other morning I got a call from Suffolk Police. They explained that I had been positively identified and named at an incident which I can only assume involved a hunt in the Suffolk area and that I had been acting in an abusive manner and calling people paedophiles (this is somewhat ironic considering hunt types like to throw this kind of abuse at sabs all the time). The officer who spoke to me believed this information to be questionable as he’d spoken to me many times in the past and didn’t consider this something I would be guilty of, hence the direct phone call.

Now as far as alibi’s go I had a pretty good one. At the time of the call I was located in a small hamlet just to the north of Courtenay on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. That’s a little under 7,600 km from darkest Suffolk.

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Needless to sat the officer was satisfied with my response and we had a laugh at the ridiculousness of it all however it highlights that there is perhaps a more insidious purpose to the claims made against me. It’s fairly clear to me the purpose of this claim was the first attempt to discredit me as a witness prior to the prosecution trail of Chris Amatt and Archie Clifton-Brown, the huntsman and whipper inn respectively of the Thurlow Hunt based in Suffolk. Except of course they have now completely shot themselves in the foot as any further claims are likely to be treated with the contempt they deserve by the police. You would think that if you are going to try and stitch someone up you would at least make sure they were on the same continent first.

No doubt this will be the first shot in a dirty tricks campaign, something the Countryside Alliance are well known for and with a case they may not be confident in winning they will resort of less scrupulous tactics in order to get the result they desire.

In other news the never ending saga of the Fitzwilliam case rumbles on. The appeal by George Adams against his conviction earlier this year has been delayed again however this is just fine by me. It’s looking highly likely that by the time it goes to court the upcoming fox hunting season will be more or less over so it means we get to call them convicted criminals for a whole season.

Finally this time of year has to be the busiest in the wildlife protection calendar. Most hunts are now cubbing and the cruel and pointless badger cull has been extended even further, 150,000 badgers could be killed, leaving parts of the country devoid of this iconic species where they have existed for centuries just because the NFU want it that way. If you’ve even considered getting involved now would be the time, contact your local sab group for more information.

Donate here.

Well after a brief break from blogging and another trip north of the border in what had to be the coldest week of the summer (it barely got above 13-14°C for the whole week) I’m back to catch up with whats been going on.

One story which obviously came to my attention was the death of 10 hounds and the injury to a cyclist after the collision with a car. The hounds in question belonged to the Cottesmore Hunt, you may remember them from a season ago when their terrier men assaulted sabs and one of their supporters brandished a heavy chain, swinging it wildly like a maniac which could have caused serious injury had it connected with its intended target  (incidentally no charges were forthcoming from Leicestershire Police, surprise surprise).

Obviously no-one from either side of the hunting debate would wish a tragic event like this but one has to question the reality of the situation and the reaction from supporters of hunting. While I don’t know the full details the hunt supporters were very quick to apportion blame, both on the driver of the vehicle and, you guessed it – sabs.

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Where the incident happened

It’s very easy to jump to conclusion without knowing the full facts however having observed hounds being exercised and transferred along country roads you have to question the sense and logic behind how this takes place. Having a kennel man on a bicycle with a whip on what is likely to be a bendy country road with a full pack of hounds (probably at least 15 couple) is obviously a recipe for disaster. Dogs do not have any idea of road safety and that many hounds could easily fill a narrow country lane and with these on a blind bend then the outcome is hardly surprising. This isn’t the first time hounds have been killed while being exercised (see here ) and I have no doubt it won’t be the last. Was the driver speeding as the hunt supporters claim or were they merely an innocent party going about their business who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

What was even more laughable were the claims that this was actually the work of sabs. Just think about that for a moment. A sab intentionally drove their vehicle at speed into a pack of hounds.

To say it’s utterly ridiculous is an understatement.

First off most sabs are vegans. Harming any animal goes against the very ethos of veganism and the ideal by which we live. We believe hounds are as big a victim of hunting as the animals they are trained and forced to hunt. Even ignoring this the legal ramifications of potentially losing ones license make the stupidity of those actions only bettered by the morons who suggested it in the first place. Here are a few of those comments posted on a pro hunting Facebook group.

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Aren’t they all just wonderful? One has to question where and how this rumour started? The same old tired and jaded stereotypical opinions such as claims of being hypocrits and their usual favourite (terrorists) are being wheeled out once more without any shred of evidence to support the claims but then this is of course nothing new and hardly unexpected.

As it turns out this proved to be somewhat of an embarrassment for that particular group and it had to delete all the comments blaming sabs and publish a post contradicting all those slathering hunt supporters looking to blame.

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Well at least that’s cleared up then but was the driver really out of control? It should also be noted that the driver of the vehicle hasn’t been charged with any traffic offences so the police clearly believe none had taken place which would suggest the claims by the hunt that they were out of control are also innacurate. Regardless of that what are the necessary requirement for exercising a large number of hound on a public road? I’m fairly sure Joe public would’t be allowed to walk a large number of dogs who weren’t controlled by a lead on a public highway. As hunting hounds come under the classification of working dogs the same laws don’t apply – perhaps they should.

Finally the longest hunting case in history (I made that up but it certainly feels like it) will be resolved on the 14th January 2019, a full 3 years after the offence took place. This will be the appeal of convicted Fitzwilliam huntsman George Adams. Let’s hope we can get this written into case law at the crown court and finally the ridiculous Bird of Prey Exemption can be written into history.

 

At least I did, but apparently not.

I thought I’d written my last piece on the Fitzwilliam case as I explained here. However I have been informed by the court witness liaison that George Adams is going to appeal his conviction. This immediately bought into question the issue of the time limit for any appeal. As already stated in my blog post previously this is 21 days and those 21 days have long since past. I have asked the witness liaison to question this and he will be getting back to me in due course. Further examination of this rule was clearly required and indeed there is an option to apply to a Crown Court for permission to appeal.

At the time of writing I can’t be sure that the appeal wasn’t submitted within the 21 day limit and it has just taken this long to filter back to me however even by British Judiciary standards this would seem to be excessively slow. If indeed it was submitted after the date and permission for an appeal needs to be sought then I would imagine they would have to cite some fairly important reasons to justify this and there is still possibility this will be thrown out before any trial hearing.

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George Adams – (Photo by Terry Harris)

So what does this mean?

Well, assuming it goes ahead then the case will be reheard in a Crown Court. This is a hugely risky strategy for the so called Countryside Alliance. Bearing in mind the original case was heard by a District Judge and not a normal Magistrate (which would normally be the case) the original decision may have more bearing. Also should the decision once again go against them the verdict will be written into case law, all hunts which use the Bird of Prey Exemption will have to use another method to circumnavigate the law as that one will have been proven in a Crown Court to be illegal. One wonders why the CA would put that at risk? Are they really that desperate to clear a retired huntsman’s name? Is it in fact the hunt which are pushing this to clear themselves of having a conviction next to the name? I’ve no doubt there will be a team of expensive lawyers in an office somewhere pawing over the law books looking for a chink of light with which they think they can overturn the original conviction. Both the CA and the Fitzwilliam certainly have the necessary resources to alloy this.

The only real concern is a more sympathetic judge for the defence. It wouldn’t be the first time a less than impartial member of the judiciary has ruled in a Hunting Act case and I doubt it will be the last. We can only hope that if it does go to court once again we get the same outcome with an impartial judge and we strengthen our case on this particular part of the Hunting Act. One has to wonder what their angle of attack will be considering the complete failure of the previous defence. I guess we’ll wait and see.

UPDATE: After a further conversation with the court liaison it would appear that the appeal was submitted just within the time limit. Apparently there was some sort of delay between the submission to the Magistrates Court for the appeal and that transferring to the Crown. Well, I’m going back to court . . .