HSA News Release 19th November 2007
In Swindon crown court today (19th November) two hunt servants were convicted of theft of a video camera from a hunt monitor. The charges related to an incident in October 2005 involving the Avon Vale Foxhunt, at Bromham, near Melksham in Wiltshire. The hunt had been putting their hounds through some scrubland and hunt monitors suspected illegal hunting and started filming with a video camera in order to gain evidence of a breach of the Hunting Act 2004. A quad bike was driven at them and then David Gibbons, a hunt steward, who then grabbed hold of the female monitor. Then Malcolm Scobie, a huntsman on horseback grabbed the video camera and rode off with it.
Both were intitally charged with robbery, but in court today both pleaded guilty of theft. The main reason for this guilty plea would appear to be that the event was captured on film by another monitor giving them little opportunity to launch a feasible defence.
Mr. Scobie claimed in court that he had lost his job and his home as a result of the charges, and both men were given a 12 month conditional discharge, and ordered to pay £350 compensation. They have been given two months to pay. It would appear that Mr. Scobie has however found gainful employment with another hunt, the South Hereford Foxhunt.
Lee Moon, spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association said: “Yet again we see the hunts literally getting away with murder. They know that illegal activity will be captured on film and handed to the police, so again and again we see the hunts going after the cameras, often accompanied with violence. If foxhunts are operating within the law as they claim, then why are they so keen to remove the possibility of being filmed?
What do they have to hide?
We want to see the police out there with cameras gaining evidence for themselves, and protecting legal monitors from intimidation and violence from these hunt thugs. Several cases similar to today’s are in the offing, and we hope that the courts will hand down suitably severe sentences. The fact that these two convicted criminals were not ordered to pay the costs of their prosecution means that the people of Wiltshire will have to bear the burden of bringing them to justice, and the risible sentence is no discouragement for similar behaviour in future.”
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