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Hunting conviction overturned

Tony Wright, the first huntsman prosecuted under the Hunting Act, has had his conviction overturned on appeal in Exeter Crown Court last Friday.

Mr. Wright, of the Exmoor Foxhounds, was found guilty in August 2006 at Barnstaple Magistrates Court, despite having used two hounds to flush foxes to be shot on 29th February 2005 as he believed was allowed by the Act. The Exmoor is one of only two foxhunts that have been prosecuted successfully. More people have been convicted of hunting rats under the Act than have been found guilty of illegal fox hunting.

Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: ‘This verdict is an absolute vindication of Tony Wright and the Exmoor Foxhounds and another nail in the coffin of the Hunting Act. While we celebrate this judgment, however, we must not forget why an innocent man faced with a vindictive private prosecution has had to spend over two years and two court cases to clear his name. Only by scrapping the Act can we ensure that other innocent people will not be persecuted and today’s result adds to the clear case for its repeal.’