Hunting Act ‘fatally weakened’ by decision not to appeal

  • The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will not appeal last month’s High Court ruling over the Hunting Act.

    In February, just days before the fourth anniversary of the Hunting Act, the High Court delivered a landmark ruling rendering much of the highly controversial legislation virtually worthless.

    A High Court judgement delivered on Wednesday 4 February ruled that huntsmen remain innocent until proven guilty, and the definition of “hunting” a mammal does not include “searching” for it.

    But today, the DPP announced its decision not to appeal the ruling to the House of Lords — its remaining option to take the case further.

    The Countryside Alliance (CA) has hailed the news as great success, saying the DPP’s decision not to appeal leaves the Hunting Act “fatally weakened”.

    CA chief executive Simon Hart said: “The decision not to appeal is an admission that the law is a mess.

    “We are now left in a situation where insinuation and allegations will continue but, as the CPS itself admits, prosecution will rarely if ever be viable.”

    Arguing the case in court in December, a barrister for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) warned that such a ruling as was delivered in February would render the Hunting Act “wholly unworkable.

    Mr Hart added: “The only sensible option is to get rid of this badly drafted, unfair and illiberal piece of legislation”.

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