The three faced a total of four charges relating to alleged incidents of hunting with dogs on 14 September and 24 October 2013.
Avon and Somerset CPS had decided to bring charges based on unauthorised covert surveillance evidence supplied by employees of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS). However, today (13 November) solicitors for the defendants learned, in an email from the CPS, that all charges against them had been dropped.
A previous prosecution involving Mr Summersgill and other Devon and Somerset Staghounds members collapsed before trial in 2009.
Countryside Alliance director of campaigns Tim Bonner said: “This case has always been fundamentally flawed and the decision to bring charges was very difficult to understand. Avon and Somerset CPS have brought three prosecutions based on LACS covert surveillance in the past two years and all three have now failed. It has taken far too long, but at least now the CPS has finally stood up to the inappropriate pressure being exerted by animal rights organisations and saved the taxpayer the cost of a lengthy and pointless trial.”
“The Devon and Somerset Staghounds have continued to research and manage the deer of Exmoor since the Hunting Act came into force nearly 10 years ago. After this second failed prosecution against them it is time for everyone to accept that their activities are entirely legal.”
For more information, contact Countryside Alliance head of media Charlotte Cooper on 0207 8409220 and 07500 834163 or email [email protected]
Note for journalists
• The three cases brought by Avon and Somerset CPS are this and two against the Weston and Banwell Hunt – both of which failed.