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Celebrity chef faces court over hare coursing allegations

CELEBRITY CHEF Clarissa Dickson Wright and sporting baronet Sir Mark Prescott are to face private prosecution for allegedly hunting hares with dogs in North Yorkshire.

Details of the case emerged last week following a separate hearing at Scarborough Magistrates' Court involving five other defendants – including Yorkshire's former champion racehorse trainer Peter Easterby.

Easterby, 78 – charged under his birth name of Miles Henry Easterby – of Habton Grange Farm, Great Habton, is accused of permitting land to be used for hare coursing and attending hare coursing.

Elizabeth Dixon, 44, of Appleton-le-Street, near Malton, is charged with knowingly facilitating a hare coursing event, while John Shaw, 54, of Welburn Manor, Welburn, near Kirkbymoorside, faces an allegation of permitting land to be used for hare coursing.

Andrew Lund-Watkinson, 56, of Pine View Lodge, Newton-on-Rawcliffe, and Jacqueline Teal, 42, of Scarborough Road, Norton, are accused of attending a hare coursing event.

The charges relate to an alleged hare coursing event at Easterby's farm at Great Habton, North Yorkshire, in March of this year.

The case was adjourned until November 19 at Scarborough.

During last week's proceedings brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) it emerged a separate private prosecution is being brought by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The Scarborough court later confirmed the defendants were Clarissa Dickson Wright (60), the former barrister who found fame as one half of the former Two Fat Ladies celebrity chef team, and Newmarket-based racehorse trainer Sir Mark Prescott, (59).

Court officials stated each defendant faces four charges – including two allegations of hunting hares with dogs, one at Nunnington on March 2 this year, and another at Amotherby, near Malton, on March 3. The other two charges relate to their alleged attendance at the events.
A spokesman for the IFAW said: ‘All we can confirm at the moment is that we are taking a private prosecution against two individuals.’

The charity said legal reasons preventing it explaining why the case, due to be heard at Scarborough on November 9, was not being dealt with by the CPS.
Hare coursing was outlawed by the Hunting Act 2005.