Pro-hunt campaigners welcome court judgment on ban

THE Countryside Alliance has welcomed a High Court ruling on the definition of hunting that it says will make it harder to prosecute huntsmen successfully under the government's ban.

Tim Bonner, a spokesman for the group, described yesterday's ruling as "very positive". He said two judges had ruled that "hunting" a wild mammal under the 2004 act that introduced the ban, did not include "searching for" an animal in order to stalk it or flush it out.

He said the judges had also said it was for the prosecution to prove that defendants were not covered by exemptions to the ban – and not for defendants to show they were exempt.

Mr Bonner said: "The court has also confirmed, in relation to basic evidence of hunting, that it has to be 'intentional' – there cannot be 'accidental' hunting."

He said of the ruling: "It is very positive. We have won on everything essentially. This should mean the prospect of Hunting Act offences being prosecuted will be far lower in many cases."

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