Posts Tagged ‘John Mease’

I had a call only the other day and a familiar voice spoke to me.

“Hi, it’s John, there’s been another change”.

My immediate thoughts were along the lines of “Oh FFS what now?” but before I could go any further John (the witness care officer for the CPS) informed me of the change.

“The date has been moved to next Wednesday and we’re back at Peterborough Magistrates”.

Now this seemed a little odd. Those of you who have been keeping up to date with the long running Fitzwilliam court case saga will no doubt already know that this high profile case has now been awaiting trial for well over 2 years. There have been multiple delays due to various reasons including what I believe to be the attempted derailment of the case by the CA and most notably “court politics”, that means not being able to find an impartial judge. The main reason the location was moved out of county originally was to try and lesson the chance of any conflict of interest with regards to the judge knowing the defendants however that probably now makes little difference.

John went on to explain that they had only found out about the changes by accident and were now desperately trying to inform all the witnesses. Was this an attempt to scupper the case somehow by not informing those required to attend? Later on I spoke to the investigating officer and he was as shocked as I. It was the first they’d heard of it and would now have to allocate resources to the day.

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Adams (left) & Mease.

So at least it was still going ahead and I will be giving evidence along with a colleague from another sab group on Wednesday (4th) while the expert witness will be speaking on Thursday. There are 2 cases to answer, 2 counts of illegal hunting (George Adams now retired Fitzwilliam huntsman and John Mease, current BoP handler) and another of cruelty to a protected species (John Mease).

As I’ve mentioned before the outcome of this case could have serious and wider implications regarding the use of raptors in an effort to circumnavigate the Hunting Act. I believe we have a very good case compared to the normal trail hunting cases we’ve seen recently. In those instances you have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was intent to hunt the animal in question, the hunts will use the “accident” alibi to cover themselves and its difficult to prove otherwise.

By using the BoP exemption the intent to hunt is already there. What comes into question is have the hunt staff taken all necessary measures to call off the hounds once the animal has been flushed and has the bird has been released?

Nothing is certain in Hunting Act cases, but given a prosecutor who knows their stuff and an honest judge I hope for a successful outcome but regardless of whether we achieve a guilty or innocent verdict in the eyes of the court, getting them there is a victory in itself and anyone who witnessed the incident on the day will know the truth.

I’ll publish more details after the case along with the video footage I took.

If anyone wishes to attend and make their feelings known on hunting then please do however I ask you behave in a suitable manner.

Now I promise you I have no obsession with the Fitzwilliam Hunt. They are just another bunch of wildlife abusers who happen to be fairly local and who we’ve gathered enough evidence on to take to court. However they do keep giving me plenty of material to write about and while this continues I’ll counter their lies with the truth and show them up for what they really are.

Here’s their latest post on their Facebook page.

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1 – “The landowners gave us permission to cross their land”. That kind of sounds like they just went through the grounds of Burghley House, like crossing a river over a bridge, merely going from A to B. This was not the case. The meet was in the grounds itself and they spent over 2 hours within the grounds boundary openly drawing every piece of woodland they could put the hounds through, starting on the west side before covering the large area of woodland to the South and east. They even drew a reed bed next the lake in the grounds. During this time they flushed a hare which serial wildlife abuser John Mease couldn’t resist releasing his eagle on and this animal was killed. While this in itself is not illegal it certainly wasn’t the aims of the hunt and puts into question his purpose on the day. Hares are also in huge decline at the moment and need more protection but these people care not about such matters.

The hunt also spent several hours outside the park to the south-east openly hunting, although by this stage much of the field had gone home.

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Burghley House & Park.

2 – “We engaged in a variety of legal forms of hunting, including laid trails for the hounds to follow”.  Does anyone really believe this nonsense? We had them under observation ALL day. Not once did we witness any trails being laid and the hounds were being put through areas of undergrowth where no trail layer could ever have gone (thick woodland and reed beds). It was abundantly clear to all except the blind and terminally idiotic they were illegally hunting. And if they were following a trail what was the purpose of the masked up terrier men on quads?

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Fitzwilliam terrier men – no purpose on a trail hunt

3 – Whilst undertaking this legal activity, there was sadly repeated trespass and harassment by hunt saboteurs who also endangered both hounds and people by interfering with hounds and calling them away from the control of the huntsman”. So, we’ve already established it wasn’t a legal activity so that’s done with and as I’ve stated in previous posts trespass is a civil offence and hunting is criminal, you can trespass on private land to prevent this crime from taking place. It should also be noted that the park grounds themselves are open to the public so it was in fact impossible to trespass here, something the hunt once again failed to note. There never was any harassment either, we simply follow the hunt, predict their movements and be ready in place to intervene should we be required to. If there was any harassment taking place it came from the jokers who were assigned to us by the hunt to act as minders.

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One of our “minders” – not the sharpest tool in the box.

The statement is also a bit of a slap in the face for their huntsman, Simon Hunter. If a bunch of sabs can so easily take the hounds away from his control what does that say about his abilities as a professional huntsman? Doesn’t sound like he’s up to the job, perhaps they should sack him and get someone else in. There never was any danger to either people or hounds, except of course when Simon let the hounds riot on some of the many deer in the area. He lost the pack all on his own. In fact we retrieved several lost hounds and bought them back to him but this of course wasn’t mentioned in the FB post, funny that. Once more, this is an utter fabrication with a single purpose, to make the best of a bad day and save face. Remember this is the same hunt who lost control of their hounds and caused havoc through the village of Upwood, much to the annoyance of the locals.

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Simon Hunter with the hounds under control for once.

4 – Sadly we had to ask the police to attend due to this dangerous, unlawful and irresponsible behaviour by the saboteurs. We always encourage hunts to call the police. They can then explain what they are up to. It also tends to keep all the hunt thugs in order. So what happened then, did multiple units turn up and arrest every sab in sight?

Nope.

A couple of bored looking units arrived, clearly they had learnt their lesson from previous encounters and are now aware of the lies told by the Fitzwilliam and are refusing to act as their private security force. They smiled and waved at us as we drove past and made no arrests.

5 – “All hounds were safely returned to the huntsman despite the saboteurs efforts to prevent this”. The hounds weren’t returned by anyone. The simple fact is the Whipper-in probably spent hours galloping round the countryside trying to retrieve hounds which had run off after some of the local wildlife. Some hounds would have found their way back on their own. Despite these outrageous claims we always want the best for the animals and although the hounds often look half-starved and covered in scars and growths the only option is back with the pack. Hunts will often make this claim in an attempt to turn the argument into a class war type thing and paint sabs as just trouble makers with no respect for animals but once again this is just a whole pile of steaming horse shit.

The statement as a whole is nothing more than a very poor attempt to put a positive spin on a day that was a complete disaster for them on what was supposed to be a prestigious meet. They set out 2 hours early in an effort to avoid our attentions and yet we still found them. The simple fact is they are being spotted by the general public and they are in turn letting us know their movements. We have eyes and ears everywhere and the hunts are universally disliked. Their days are numbered.

Bonus blog post this week as I just had to respond to something which appeared on Facebook. Regular readers will no doubt be aware of my own personal battle with the Fitzwilliam Hunt and getting them to court to face justice over the killing of a fox on New Years Day 2016. Of course the delays wouldn’t stop our combined operations against them with other local groups and most notably North Cambs Hunt Sabs as it’s their local hunt.

I’d always say the more success you have against these people the more they’ll come out with lies and fabrications to discredit us and restore their ever thinning veneer of credibility. These outbursts are nothing more than spitting out their combined dummies and are easily picked apart. Let me demonstrate. Below is a statement from their Facebook page, a page where they said they would never mention antis or sabs.

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Fitzwilliam Hunt Facebook Statement

1 – We have changed practices to comply with the Hunting Act. Well, not really or you wouldn’t be in court this April. Simple one that. They always seem forget this, I wonder why?

2 – Exercising hounds and horses together, hunting a laid trail, using hounds to flush a fox into the open when it can be taken by a bird of prey. The Fitzwilliam have never just exercised hounds. Why is there always a terrier man present if they are just exercising or following a trail for that matter. Indeed the last time we saw them with a trail layer he was some distance behind the hounds with the grubby rag flapping about 3 feet off the ground. On the same day John Mease (their BoP handler and co-defendant in the case) was also there. One could safely assume that you’re either following a trail or you admit to hunting live quarry by flushing to the BoP. They CANNOT legally combine these. Were they following a trail or flushing to an Eagle when all their hounds rampaged through the village of Upwood recently?

While we’re on the subject of that it should be noted that the legality of using the BoP is questionable a best. I covered the subject in more depth here but when hunts started using this loophole Defra stated:

“Employing (whether or not released to hunt) a bird of prey which does not ordinarily hunt that particular wild mammal [would be illegal], because, in our view, it suggests that the flushing was not for the purpose of enabling the bird of prey to hunt the mammal.” The falconry exemption allowed dogs to flush out wild mammals for the birds to hunt but not to “run after, chase or pursue the wild mammal after it has been flushed out. Nor does the exemption allow the dog(s) to kill the wild mammal.” Britain’s second biggest bird of prey, the Golden Eagle, only takes small fox cubs in the wild. Up to 30 hunts are believed to have bought birds of prey in an attempt to test the act”.

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John Mease

3 – Whilst doing this, we are harassed by men and women (many are masked) who abuse us, behave in an intimidating way, trespass repeatedly on private land and spray wildlife habitat and our horses and hounds with noxious sprays, all with the intent of preventing our lawful activity. Firstly we don’t wear masks and neither do the sabs from our comrades North Cambs. Some groups attending do so and that’s their right. We don’t intimidate, we turn up and monitor and step in when they hunt live quarry. As they are displaying all the required criteria of an illegal hunt it is our right to prevent this from happening and as such can legally access private land to do so. Trespass is a civil offence, the Hunting Act is criminal.

Their mention of wildlife habitat is quite frankly insulting to the intelligence of anyone who reads their post. They don’t give a stuff about wildlife. Only last week we had to report on a badger sett which was illegally blocked by their terrier man (on their own land) to stop foxes escaping. The thick clay earth had sett like concrete and the danger to the Badgers trapped underground was clear. This isn’t the first time they’ve done this, they are habitual sett blockers and North Cambs have even caught the terrier man in the act! Let’s face it a pack of hunting hounds charging through the countryside along with a whole bunch of horses isn’t exactly good for any wildlife. We see all sorts of birds and animals scattering in all directions in utter terror.

Sabs don’t carry noxious sprays. We use citronella, a non-toxic essential oil mixed with water that has a lemony smell that can mask the scent of a fox. It’s totally harmless. We’ve never spray hounds or horses, any animal cruelty goes against our very ethos. These are simply badly constructed lies, swallowed by those who live in the sad little bubble inhabited by the hunt themselves.

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Fitzwilliam terrier man caught red handed

4 – The many, vindictive and confused posts on local Hunt Saboteur group pages suggest they have at best a flawed understanding of the law regarding hunting and no regard for the law regarding trespass or our right to pursue lawful activity. They may think they have the right to enforce their views on us, but they don’t. Now they  really are struggling with reality. We report on what happened on Facebook. It may not be the truth they want to hear but you can’t argue with the facts. Our understanding of the law has to be spot on otherwise we’d be arrested in no time at all. Funny how they are the ones going to court and yet no sabs. They keep mentioning “lawful activity” but it’s patently clear that’s nonsense as I’ve already explained.

So that’s enough for now. Rest assured we take this as a victory, proof indeed that our efforts are having an effect and judging by the poor turnout over the festive period it seems the message is getting through.

Photos courtesy of North Cambs Hunt Sabs

I haven’t written very much lately, but then if you’re a regular of this blog you’ll already know that. Thing is I just haven’t had the time. Although the main hunting season has yet to start this is probably the busiest time of year for anyone involved in wildlife protection. We’re well into the the badger cull now and sabs all over the country are travelling many miles to protect our stripey nighttime wildlife from those who wish to do them harm. Cubbing season for the hunts is also in full swing so those sabs remaining at home are getting up early in the morning to find and stop these hunts. Some are doing both and it’s draining, physically, emotionally and financially.

I’d have hoped to bring you more news of the Fitzwilliam case as well by now but there are more delays. I’m beginning to wonder if this will ever get to court. It’s incredibly important that the case is heard as it’s the first time the Bird of Prey Exemption in the Hunting Act has been challenged in court. Winning this case will be pivotal in future prosecutions and could render the exemption useless to those who claim to hunt with it. The latest news I have is that we’re again waiting for a date when a non-biased judge can be found to hear the case and that our expert witness is also available. By the time this gets to court it will be likely that the offence occurred 2 years past. The Fitzwilliam are still using the BoP exemption and are still killing foxes. John Mease, their bird man (and co-defendant) is still riding around with an Eagle on his arm doing absolutely nothing in terms of making the hunting exempt.

I shall be heading out shortly for the long drive to Wiltshire for another night shift searching for badger shooters. I’ll be doing the same for the next two nights and no doubt fitting in some anti cubbing operations as well. We’ve had people staying down there full time. My work commitments mean I have to juggle my efforts and do what I can when I can but this doesn’t leave an awful lot of time for anything else although we did manage to organise a training session for new sabs recently which proved a huge success. The Godfather of sabbing Mike Huskisson came along and did a fantastic talk and we did a talk on what is expected of new sabs and what they are likely to face in the fields both from the other side and the police. It was heartwarming to see so many new people wanting to get involved and if this is a reflection on things to come then the hunts are going to be facing a very tough time indeed.

When I started this blog I had no real idea of what I wanted to do our where I wanted to take it but everything soon fell into place and turned into something I hadn’t really expected. However I’m now considering the future of this blog and the next step. I could carry on as before but time isn’t allowing me to put the effort in it deserves. This may change of course but as it stands I’m tempted to call it day at the end of this year when my hosting contract will need renewing and I can focus on the running of our sab group now that it is expanding.

Let me know your thoughts.

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