Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 15:14 UK

Court adjourns hunt assault case

A Devon huntsman who admitted assaulting a hunt monitor has had his case adjourned for a special hearing.

Christopher Marles, 46, of New Buildings, Farringdon, near Exeter, admitted assaulting Helen Weeks.

But Exeter Magistrates' Court ordered a Newton hearing after the prosecution disputed the basis of Marles' plea.

A Newton hearing can occur when the defence and prosecution dispute the facts on which the court would impose sentence.

'Trampling fear'

The court was told Ms Weeks had fallen into a ditch three times during a confrontation with Marles, who was riding with the East Devon Hunt at Whimple in March.

Prosecutor Karen Ball said Ms Weeks was among a group of hunt monitors at the meet when she was approached by Marles, who was on horseback.

He turned his horse towards her and its muzzle made contact with her shoulder, the prosecutor said.

"She fell in to a drainage ditch and was in some fear of being trampled by the horse," said Ms Ball.

Marles rode towards Ms Weeks again, and when she put her hands up the horse made contact with her and she again fell in to the ditch.

When the monitor asked Marles to stop, he again rode his horse towards her and she fell into the ditch a third time.

The prosecutor said Ms Weeks suffered back and stomach pains as a result of the incident and was "in fear".

The Newton hearing is due to take place at Exeter Magistrates' Court on 19 November.

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