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Magistrate resigns over hunt ban

A MAGISTRATE has tendered his resignation from the North Avon Bench after 19 years because he says he cannot administer the ban on hunting with dogs.

Derek Pearce, 59, who has hunted for 35 years and is a member of the Beaufort Hunt, said the new law was "not based on evidence but on prejudice", and was an "abuse of power" by the Government.

He was not prepared to sit in judgment and fine somebody who defied the ban. "I don't see it as my job," he said. "I am against the whole principle of the law.

"Magistrates have been trained to recognise prejudice against minority groups, and we are encouraged as responsible members of society to help stamp it out. It is ironic that we now have this."

The Constitution Secretary, Lord Falconer, recently warned that magistrates must enforce hunting laws passed by Parliament or resign.