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Monday, 23 April, 2001, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Bad handwriting ends court case

A Northamptonshire man accused of illegal hare-coursing has had his case thrown out of court because lawyers could not read a policeman's written report.

In what is thought to be the first case of its kind, magistrates have agreed it was a breach of human rights not to be able to read the case against the defendant.

It was claimed that Terry Button, a local traveller, had been spotted hare coursing on land in Bedfordshire with another man.

He appeared at court in Bedford on Tuesday, charged with trespassing on land in search of game.

His lawyer, Derek Johashen, told court that the handwritten statement from the officer in the case had been illegible, so he had been unable to prepare his defence.

He said that was a breach of human rights laws.

Magistrates agreed, and the police say it is the first time they have dealt with a case like this.

They say the problem could have been dealt with at an earlier hearing.

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