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Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 19:05 GMT
Judgment reserved in hunt appeal
Tony Wright
Tony Wright denies breaching the Hunting Act
The judge hearing an appeal by a Devon huntsman against his conviction for breaching the Hunting Act has reserved judgment in the case.

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.

Judge Graham Cottle who was hearing the appeal at Exeter Crown Court will now give his judgment at a later date.

The court heard from Richard Furlong for the Crown Prosecution Service that on 29 April 2005 Wright hunted two foxes with two hounds on Exmoor in circumstances which were in "clear breach" of the Act.

'Hopeless'

Wright told Exeter Crown Court that he had read the Act, which came into force on 18 February 2005.

He said Exmoor farmers had asked the hunt to "come and kill these bloody foxes" after experiencing losses during the lambing season.

He told the court: "We wanted to ensure we worked within the Act."

Mr Furlong has said for Wright to argue that what took place was lawful within the terms of an exemption to the Act would be "hopeless".

The second defence would be for Wright to establish he believed he was engaged in exempt hunting, but that too was "unarguable", said Mr Furlong.

The CPS has said that video footage from the League Against Cruel Sports showed a "prolonged pursuit" of foxes by the hounds.

Wright has been a huntsman with the Exmoor Foxhounds since 1982.



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