Hunt trial: Day 6

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FOUR out of 11 charges have been withdrawn in the Crawley and Horsham Hunt court case.

Henry James Hawksfield, 59, of Bines Road, Partridge Green, Rachael Holdsworth, 47, of Rock Road, Washington, Neill Millard, 45, of Dragons Lane, Shipley, and Andrew Phillis, 50, of Halwell, Totnes, Devon, have pleaded not guilty to offences under the Hunting Act 2004.

With the prosecution case finished, prosecutor Walton Hornsby said he would withdraw

four of the counts because the evidence supporting them was not strong enough.

Defence barrister David Perry QC went through the evidence for the remaining seven charges, asking the judge to drop them under a ‘no case to answer’ ruling.

He said much of the prosecution evidence was circumstantial, or from eyewitnesses who had made assumptions based on what they had heard, or the general impression they had of what was happening.

“On all the occasions with which we’re concerned, the hunt was aware that filming was taking place, and that suggests that it’s implausible to contend that they would, knowing that their activities were being filmed, hunt,” he concluded.

Mr Hornsby accepted that some of the evidence was circumstantial, but said it is ‘perfectly reasonable’ for the court to draw common sense conclusions from such evidence.

The case was adjourned until Tuesday, to give the judge time to review the evidence.