Crawley & Horsham High Court case is adjourned until March

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The Crawley & Horsham hunt’s High Court bid to ban protesters from thousands of acres of private estate and farmland in West Sussex has been adjourned to allow more time for lawyers to work on its case.

On Monday, the hunt asked Mr Justice King to grant an injunction against protesters, including the West Sussex Wildlife Protection Group and two of the people it says are the WSWPG’s principal activists — Simon and Jaine Wilde, of Bognor Regis. Legal arguments were due to last five days.

Solicitor advocate, Tim Lawson-Cruttenden, brought the case under the Protection From Harassment Act, and also alleged “common law torts” of nuisance and trespass.

Yesterday the hunt was dealt a blow when Mr Justice King threw out the common law claims, describing them as a “mish mash”.

Adjournment granted

Today Mr Lawson-Cruttenden successfully applied to the judge for an adjournment, saying he needed time to “take stock”.

The legal battle will now return to court for a “case management” hearing before the end of the year, but any full hearing may not take place until March next year.

Barrister Stephen Simblet, representing some of those who could be affected by any injunction granted, told the judge: “You have given the claimants a huge indulgence in granting them an adjournment in a case they have not brought properly.”

Mr Lawson-Cruttenden wants Mr Justice King to ban protesters from land on which the hunt takes place — except that which has a public right of way — and also to prevent those who hunt being intimidated, and their horses and hounds being disrupted.

The case is likely to return to court on Thursday morning for adminstrative matters, but nothing of substance will be decided.

No date was set for the resumption of the full hearing.