Justice for assaulted fox-hunt investigators
Litigation - Article Series from All-Creatures.org Articles Archive

FROM

League Against Cruel Sports
April 2018

Fox hunt supporters convicted of brutal attack on fox-hunt investigators.

Darryl Cunnington
Darryl Cunnington

Two men were convicted today at Leicester Crown Court of seriously assaulting two League Against Cruel Sports professional investigators who were attacked whilst monitoring a fox hunt on behalf of the animal welfare charity.

One of the investigators, Darryl Cunnington, a former policeman, was treated for broken neck vertebrae after the incident, which took place as they monitored the activities of the Belvoir Hunt.

George Grant, the Belvoir Hunt terrier man, and his son Thomas Grant, pleaded guilty to charges of grievous bodily harm on investigator Darryl Cunnington, actual bodily harm on investigator Roger Swaine, theft of a video camera and criminal damage of a memory card. Sentencing has been adjourned until June 14.

The attack took place on March 12 2016 close to the village of Stathern in Leicestershire and involved the two convicted men and four unidentified masked men who punched and then pushed the investigators off a 14 foot escarpment before escaping with one of the investigator’s cameras.

Chris Luffingham, League Against Cruel Sports Director of Campaigns, said:

“This case highlights the sheer thuggery and lawlessness of fox hunts and their blatant disregard for the laws of this country.

“A hunt broke the neck of a charity worker working for an animal welfare organisation operating within the law to monitor potential illegal hunting activity.

“Despite being banned in 2004, hunting is still widespread and endemic across the British countryside hence why we employ professional investigators to monitor their activities and bring them to justice.

“This completely unprovoked attack on the investigators highlights how the hunts are prepared to break the law and resort to violence so they can continue to chase and kill animals in the name of ‘sport’ and literally tear them apart.”

Darryl Cunnington, League Against Cruel Sports Head of Field Operations, said:

“Hopefully this will send out a message to all hunts that they cannot carry out assaults on people who wish to monitor their activities.

“If they are operating within the law as they claim, then they have nothing to hide.

“By attacking monitors and stealing camera equipment they have shown they fear their hunting activities being recorded, and the possibility of prosecution.

“l am very lucky that the assault has left me with no long-term serious injuries. After falling fourteen feet, finding myself unable to move, I feared I was paralysed. The offenders showed no remorse and left us injured. The fact they refused to cooperate with the police shows no remorse or concern.”

Roger Swain, League Against Cruel Investigators Field Operator who was also assaulted, said:

“I’m delighted by the result today. The Investigations team have a policy of non-interference and we are there purely to record any hunting or other cruelty offences. We were filming the Belvoir Hunt from a public bridleway from a distance of 1km. This violent response by an employee of the Hunt and five others was unprovoked and a complete overreaction.

“My colleague Darryl Cunnington was lucky not to have been killed. This conviction sends a powerful message to hunts up and down the country that you cannot simply attack anyone in the vicinity who happens to have a camera or who may disagree with your activities.”

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