HSA news release July 22nd 2004

Hunt saboteur awarded damages for assault by police

A hunt saboteur was awarded damages totalling £1450 in Oxford County Court on Monday 19th July 2004 after a jury found in favour of her claim against Thames Valley Police for assault.

The case arose from the 9th December 2000, when she was punched whilst being arrested on suspicion of having committed Aggravated Trespass at the Garth and South Berks Hunt.

The 6 day hearing was told how the incident occurred towards the end of the day at Benyon's Enclosure, Mortimer near Reading and the saboteur received a punch on the head that left a 4 cm long bruise and swelling. She was awarded aggravated damages.

The Garth and South Berks was a regular target for hunt saboteurs, resulting in their merger with the neighbouring Vale of Aylesbury Hunt in 2002. At the time, the hunt denied regular sabotage being the cause, putting it down to the laughable excuse of "too many golf courses".

In their latter years the hunt had been the scene of numerous arrests and huge police operations.Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown said, "We obviously welcome this judgement but it is a sad fact that many more hunt saboteurs have been subjected to assaults or wrongful arrests and not been in a position to take legal action. We hope that Thames Valley police will focus their officers on real crime in the future rather than preventing hunt saboteurs from saving lives."

ENDS