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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 18:27 GMT
Huntsman appeals over conviction
Tony Wright
Tony Wright denies breaching the Hunting Act
A Devon huntsman is appealing against his conviction for breaching the Hunting Act.

Tony Wright, 53, of the Exmoor Foxhounds, was convicted last year of hunting a wild animal with dogs.

He was fined 500 and ordered to pay 200 costs under a private prosecution by the League Against Cruel Sports.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which has taken over the case, told Exeter Crown Court that Wright was in "clear breach" of the Act.

'Stopped hounds'

The CPS said that video footage from the League Against Cruel Sports on 29 April, 2005, showed a "prolonged pursuit" of foxes by the hounds.

But Wright, who has been huntsman with the Exmoor Foxhounds since 1982, told the court the hunt wanted to work within the Act, which came into force on 18 February 2005.

He said that after one fox emerged it changed direction after seeing a walker on the moor, and he stopped the hounds.

He said that later he thought a second fox was being pursued by the hounds because of their behaviour, though he could not see it.

He blew a "come to me" call on his hunting horn, and the hounds were stopped, he said.

The hearing continues.

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