Ollie Finnegan, former huntsman of the Cheshire Hounds, was yesterday found guilty of two counts of illegal hunting. Finnegan was convicted in his absence as he arrogantly failed to attend court for a third time.
Finnegan was fined the maximum amount – £1000 – for each of the two offenses and must pay court costs. He was also given a two-year Criminal Behaviour Order including one sanction stating that he cannot hunt with more than 10 hounds. Sadly, this sanction is meaningless as Finnegan has fled to Ireland where fox hunting is legal.
A significant aspect of this case was that the hunt were filmed laying a dummy trail – as recommended in the notorious Hunting Office webinars – in an attempt to fool watching police and activists from Cheshire Against Blood Sports. Fortunately, the magistrate saw through this “smokescreen” employed by the Cheshire Hounds.
Finnegan’s crimes follow his December 2022 Hunting Act convictions dating from his time at the Quorn Hunt. The evidence in that case consisted of dozens of WhatsApp messages found on Finnegan’s phone implicating him and the masters of the hunt. Herefordshire and Three Counties sabs were on standby to give evidence had Finnegan not admitted his guilt. The day after his Quorn conviction, Finnegan was out hunting foxes with the Cheshire Hounds.
An HSA spokesperson commented
“We welcome this conviction but have some questions. Why was Finnegan welcomed back to the Cheshire Hounds the day after his guilty plea for a series of Hunting Act offenses? And why does hunting’s governing body – the British Hound Sports Associations – continue to support both hunts? The answer is clear – hunting is organised crime happening in plain sight.”