Huntsman facing charges after allegedly running down saboteur

  • A huntsman from the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale is facing charges after allegedly running down a hunt saboteur with his horse.

    Mark Doggrell, 45, was filmed knocking the woman to the ground with his horse at a meet near Charlton Horethorne, Somerset, in August 2014.

    The footage shows the saboteur, known as Nid, colliding with the horse as she stood by a gate.

    She was airlifted to hospital, reportedly suffering broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

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    Mr Doggrell was originally arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. He was questioned but told by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that he would not be prosecuted.

    However the woman, a member of the Dorset Hunt Saboteurs, challenged the decision and started a petition, which gained 12,700 signatures.

    In February a statement from the CPS said: “Having carefully reviewed all the evidence gathered in an investigation by Avon and Somerset police, the CPS reviewing lawyer decided there was insufficient evidence that the incident could have been foreseen and therefore could not authorise charge.

    “The case was considered incredibly carefully and included consideration of a reconstruction exercise by expert mounted officers from the Avon and Somerset police.”

    The decision was reviewed by the CPS under the victims’ right to review scheme

    Mr Doggrell is now facing charged of “recklessly causing grievous bodily harm”.

    He is to appear before magistrates, but a date has not yet been set.

    “After careful consideration of all the evidence in this case, including additional new evidence, I have decided that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to charge Mark Doggrell with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm,” said Rachael Scott of the CPS.

    A spokesman for the hunt told H&H: “We are naturally disappointed that the initial conclusion has been overturned but that we will all abide by the legal process and the rule of law and hope he will be acquitted.”

    Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance added: “It was a very unfortunate incident, but the police and CPS had decided to bring no charges against Mr Doggrell. This change of stance is of concern to us as it suggests that prosecutions are made on the basis of who shouts the loudest rather than sound legal reasons.”

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