A case brought against a Northumberland huntsman under the Hunting Act 2004 has today (13 August) collapsed.

Robert McCarthy, 35, of the Percy hunt had been charged with illegally hunting a mammal.

The case opened at South East Northumberland Magistrates Court yesterday, with the court hearing evidence from two women who claimed to have witnessed Mr McCarthy and the Percy hounds hunting a fox on 12 November 2008.

But today District Judge Stephen Earl ruled there was insufficient evidence and threw the case out.

Three days had been set aside for the hearing.

Following the collapse of the case Mr McCarthy has been awarded costs.

The Countryside Alliance’s Tim Bonner commented: “Robert’s case is yet another publicly-funded fiasco that should never have happened.

“He has had the threat of this prosecution hanging over him for nine months for a case that should never have got to court in the first place. Questions must now be asked about how much this has cost the public purse.

“The Hunting Act is a pernicious law whose effects are entirely negative, and the collapse of Robert’s case is hopefully another nail in its coffin. The only answer is to repeal the Hunting Act so that no one ever has to go through the stress that Robert has had to go through.”