Hunt trial: Day 5

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Archive picture

EXPERT witness Professor Stephen Harris had his evidence come under attack today.

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

Yesterday, Prof Harris gave Horsham Magistrates’ Court his opinion that, based on video evidence and prosecution witness statements, the hounds had been chasing live prey rather than an artificial scent.

Today, defence barrister David Perry QC challenged Prof Harris’ claim that his report was ‘balanced and independent’.

He said Prof Harris had been too willing to take evidence from hunt monitors - former hunt saboteurs - at face value.

“You knew that they’d had a long and bitter battle against the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, and had campaigned for the ban,” he said.

He also questioned Prof Harris’ understanding of hunting.

The professor accepted that, although he was present at many foxhunts in order to study foxes, he had never ridden with a hunt, or taken part in drag or trail hunting.

The case continues.