Charges of illegal hunting have been dropped against Heythrop huntsman Julian Barnfield.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has today dropped the high-profile case against Mr Barnfield. The huntsman was charged with four offences of hunting a fox, relating to incidents between November 2008 and February 2009.

The decision comes after the CPS announced it had no plans to appeal a High Court ruling that effectively weakened the Hunting Act 2004.

Mr Barnfield told H&H: “It’s now becoming apparent that it’s an unworkable law, that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

The High Court ruled in February that “searching” for a mammal was not hunting, and that hunting could only be an “intentional” activity.

Mr Barnfield’s solicitor, Tim Hayden, said: “My client had been engaged in lawful trail hunting, which had been wrongly interpreted to be unlawful hunting by the prosecution.

“Hopefully the recent High Court decision will help to ensure those people who take part in lawful hunting will not be wrongly suspected to be unlawfully hunting in future.”

Julian Barnfield added: “Hunt staff are under a lot of pressure, and when you’re filmed day-in-day-out, it’s not easy to do your job.”