Two men have been cleared of charges under the Hunting Act today (25th August) at Leicester Magistrates Court.
The trial of the Quorn huntsman, Oliver Finnegan, and the hunt’s former whipper-in Rhys Matcham, relating to trail hunting activities which took place on 4th February 2020, collapsed in dramatic fashion on the second morning of the trial. The crown re-opened their case having closed it on the previous day and offered no evidence against either defendant following cross examination of prosecution witnesses.
The crown’s case relied purely on evidence provided by three full time League Against Cruel Sports employees who were covertly filming the hunt during the day in question and provided the police and CPS with their footage.
Adrian Simpson of the Countryside Alliance said: “The defence team were always of the opinion that this was a very weak case that would not bear scrutiny in a court room. We need to consider the impact on the defendants who have constantly maintained their innocence and have had to live with this allegation hanging over them for over 18 months.”
The magistrates directed not guilty verdicts for both Mr Finnegan and Mr Matcham.