HSA news release 16th August 2003
Disappointment (but no suprise) after PC is cleared of attack on saboteur
The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) today announced its disappointment after a Suffolk policeman was cleared on 14 August of charges arising from an incident at a meet of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds at Chattisham near Ipswich in which a hunt saboteur was struck.
Pc Keith Warren, 48, who is based at Hadleigh, appeared before Ipswich magistrates to answer a charge of assault by beating. After a 2 day trial he was cleared of the charge.
HSA spokesperson Nathan Brown said "This outcome is yet another nail in the coffin of hunt saboteurs' trust in the legal system. We were surprised but glad that the case got this far, highlighting the overzealous behaviour of some police officers towards hunt saboteurs. We are extremely disappointed at the verdict, especially given that PC Warren's evidence was inconsistent with that provided by both prosecution and defence witnesses including his fellow officers in court. The court acknowledged that PC Warren lost his temper, pushed a saboteur with the heel of his hand and grabbed the saboteur's clothing. The police are trained to keep calm and should not be permitted to strike protestors under any circumstances. Some onlookers might think the court has decided that violence against people who protest against bloodsports is acceptable."
Notes to Editors:-
Past incidents that the association points to when they have been failed by the legal system include:
- the recent clearing of a huntsman in the South East caught on camera headbutting and punching a female saboteur unconcious
- the lack of any charges brought following the deaths of hunt saboteurs Mike Hill and Tom Worby under the wheels of hunt vehicles
- the failure to prosecute over the maiming of hunt saboteur Steve Christmas who was driven over and nearly killed by a supporter of the Old Surrey & Burstow hunt
- the routine arrest of hunt saboteurs only to be released without charge after the hunt has finished
- numerous attacks on hunt saboteurs that are routinely ignored or never investigated by the police
The Hunt Saboteurs Association is starting its 40th season of actively and directly saving animals' lives this month.