Anti-hunt campaigner found guilty of assault and harassment

  • An anti-hunt campaigner has been found guilty of assaulting and harassing a hunt’s countryman after she witnessed him shooting a fox in January.

    Judith Hewitt, 67, from North Wales, reportedly became “absolutely hysterical” and started hitting Robert Smith on the back after he legally killed the fox in his role as a licensed vermin control officer.

    Llandudno Court heard last Friday (24 October) how Hewitt, who denied the charges, had recorded the confrontation and put an edited version of the incident on YouTube.

    Mr Smith, who has been a countryman for seven years, told the court he had been controlling a fox that was harming pheasants on the Plas Newydd estate at Trefnant on 28 January.

    “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She ran up the bank and was screaming and shouting, calling us devils and tried to take the fox off me.”

    A separate harassment charge alleged she trespassed on land and obstructed Mr Smith as he went about his work, posted offensive items on the internet and allowed offensive material to remain on websites.

    The judge found her guilty of both charges against her and she has been bailed for a pre-sentence report.

    Hewitt’s QC John Cooper has objected to a restraining order sought by the prosecution banning her from private land in Denbighshire during meets of the Flint and Denbigh Hunt.

    Tim Bonner from the Countryside Alliance said: “Robert Smith was undertaking important, and completely legal, wildlife management work for the landowner.

    “It is outrageous that he should have been harassed by Ms Hewitt in this way while going about his job.

    “This case shows how important it is that hunts take action over harassment from activists.

    “If hunts help themselves by collecting evidence and are willing to make a statement we can support their complaints.”

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