Hunt duo lose their appeal

HUNT employees used “cynical subterfuge” to disguise the fact they were illegally hunting a fox, a judge has ruled.

Judge Michael Pert QC told Leicester Crown Court that Derek Hopkins and Kevin Allen, employees of the Great Bowden-based Fernie Hunt, had pretended they where following a trail scent to cover up the illegal pursuit of a fox.

Dismissing their appeal against convictions for breaching the ban on hunting, Judge Pert said: “It may be that they [hunt supporters] feel the day will come when this [Hunting] Act is repealed and they may be correct but the law is the law.

“Their conduct amounted to cynical subterfuge. They used a trail hunt as a cover.”

The five-day appeal, which concluded this afternoon (Friday), followed the convictions of Huntsman Hopkins and terrierman Allen at Harborough Magistrates’ Court earlier this year.

The charges were illegally hunting a mammal with a dog and interfering with a badger sett.

Both men will have to pay out thousands in additional court fees for bringing the case to appeal - £3,630 for Hopkins and £2,730 for Allen.

See next Thursday’s Harborough Mail for a full report and reaction

Report by Ian O’Pray at Leicester Crown Court at 4.25pm (Friday).