Letter: Notes on Hunting Act Exemption


Pankaj wrote:

Here are the amendments. It’s not technical. It’s law changing. Nebulous. Open-ended.


Good evening.

I am sorry I cannot join you on Tuesday, but was running my eye over the proposed amendment on dogs.

I know you are already on top of this, but the real eye-openers are these:

(a) the exemption not only frees up the number of dogs but also includes “having regard to the terrain and any other relevant circumstances”

There is no detail here; having regard to what about the terrain? Its size, undulation? Who is to determine? And any other relevant circumstances include what?

(b) what I had forgotten was that the existing Hunting Act 2004 already contains a statutory defence –

“It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under section 1 in respect of hunting to show that he reasonably believed that the hunting was exempt.”

Therefore, this new regulation will make successful prosecution even more difficult – what will the prosecuting authorities say is a reasonable prospect of conviction? The new amendment is entirely geared to making prosecution more difficult. How much is the Crown willing to spend on expert evidence on the issue of terrain, and other relevant circumstances? The Code for Crown Prosecutions may now have to change.

Anyone who says it is a technical device to bring us in line with Scotland need only read the Scottish 2002 Act to note that there isn’t (from what I can see) a statutory defence, as there is in in the 2004 Act. Plus, you can go to prison in Scotland for up to 6 months – only a fine here.

(c) My other concern is the addition of the words “or diseased” in new amendment article (5) (a). What is the government aiming for here? Possibility of using dogs to assist people in flushing out badgers “which are reasonably believed to have bovine TB?” Perhaps you know this, but I hadn’t heard much about this in the narrative of the last few days.

I agree, Bri. They are a bunch of lying bastards. What the hell did we all do in May?


Brian replied:

Very interesting, Mr P.

You always penetrate to the real depths.

Thanks… … …

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