Durham-based former racehorse trainer Paul Johnson faces a criminal prosecution over allegations that he was cruel to a stallion.

Mr Johnson, of Low Wyndways Farm, White Le-Head, Tantobie denies any wrongdoing.

The case was thrown out at Consett Magistrates Court in October 2008 after a judge ruled that the RSPCA had taken too long to bring it.

But today (16 October) the RSPCA successfully challenged that decision at London’s High Court.

Mr Johnson will now face one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a thoroughbred contrary to section 41 of the Animal Welfare Act.

He is alleged to have ill-treated racehorse Hans Christian between 11 May, 2007, and 11 June, 2007.

A vet, that inspected the horse for the RSPCA on 11 June 2007, found the stallion had a severe foot injury. He was destroyed two days later.

A spokesman for the British Horseracing Authority confirmed that Mr Johnson’s trainer’s licence was withdrawn in 2007 due to the RSPCA prosecution.