Cheshire_Hounds_OM2013_AlJohnsonMiddleton hunt master and huntsman Tom Holt was today (12 February) found not guilty of a Hunting Act offence after a trial at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.

Employees of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) had covertly filmed Mr Holt on 19 February 2014 near Malton in North Yorkshire and made allegations of illegal hunting. The Crown Prosecution Service brought a prosecution and, nearly a year later, Mr Holt has today been found not guilty. 

Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, said: “This is the second failed hunt prosecution brought by North Yorkshire Crown Prosecution Service on the basis of allegations made by League Against Cruel Sports employees in a matter of weeks1. We are increasingly concerned that innocent people are being dragged through the courts at the behest of animal rights activists, and that taxpayers have to pick up the bill.

“The police and Crown Prosecution Service must urgently review their relationship with animal rights groups like LACS. Allegations made by biased witnesses based on unauthorised covert surveillance are no basis for a sound prosecution.”

For further information, contact the Countryside Alliance head of media Charlotte Cooper on 07500 834163 or [email protected]

Notes for journalists
1 A court case against two members of the Lunesdale hunt collapsed on 21 January, at York Magistrates Court, on the first day of a planned two-day trial. Terence “Ted” Potter, 63, of Orton, Penrith and Paul Whitehead, 53, of Sedbergh, had each been accused of one charge of hunting a wild mammal with a dog on 18 February 2014, at Holly Platt Farm in Ingleton. But, following an application by the Lunesdale’s lawyer Stephen Welford, the magistrates ruled there was no case to answer as there was no evidence that either man was even present on the day in question. The case was brought by the CPS on evidence provided by the League Against Cruel Sports.