BY NIGEL BEAN & PAUL READ
Martin Sims, Head Investigator at the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), has just shot himself in the foot. In a news briefing, Sims stated that foxhunting is still very much alive after two supporters of the Kimblewick Hunt were caught on a trail camera pulling a fox out of a hole by its tail. The covert footage was not from a League investigator, but someone interested in nature trying to capture footage of badgers and foxes in the wild.
On the same day the Kimblewick two were found guilty of cruelty, despite the usually vocal fox not making a sound when handled, video footage appeared in Country Squire Magazine and on social media showing the League’s investigator Terry Hill being creative with his camera work. He is captured on camera stopping at walk because he didn’t want a gunman – required by law in Scotland to be present when a fox is chased – to appear in his footage. Things got a little embarrassing that day for the League investigator as it turns out his gunmen avoidance ploy failed – he was spotted passing a third gunman and is taunted by a hunt supporter who calls out ‘That’s three guns now, Terry, you can`t edit that out!’.
The conclusion that can be drawn is that there are plenty of other folk setting up nature trail cams and not finding wrongdoing by hunts. And this is why League investigators are getting ever more desperate and creative in how they capture their footage.
Sadly the antis’ tactics go way beyond creative camera work into the realm of targeted harassment of people the LACS despise – as Claire Bellamy, Hunts-woman of the Lauderdale in Scotland, can testify. She was charged with illegal hunting in the autumn of 2017 and the cameraman was our aforementioned friend from LACS, Terry Hill. Only Claire had a witness of her own – a gunman she had asked that day to shoot any foxes. Terry’s evidence was not sufficient, and Claire in Feb 2018 accepted a direct measure from COPFS – this, it must be stated, is not an admission of guilt.
In October 2018 it was the turn of the Duke of Buccleuch to appear in court – once again the video “evidence” of Terry Hill was on show. The hearing was adjourned and reconvened in November 2018, then one huntsman was acquitted with no case to answer and the second was acquitted on the evidence of the defence.
At the end of November 2018 Claire Bellamy is questioned once again over illegal hunting on footage captured by Terry Hill, only this time Terry is accompanied on the trip by Alison Johnstone, a Green MSP. She claims to have witnessed illegal hunting on her visit:
“This week I saw a fox running for its life, pursued by a pack of dogs. The mounted hunt followed after them, and I was left in no doubt that the current law is failing to protect our wildlife.”
The police appear to disagree with what Alison Johnstone stated because – despite Johnstone claiming not to see any guns present – several witnesses told police they saw Johnstone returning to her car multiple times to warm herself up. The guns later chatted to LACS investigators – rather conveniently their cameras were switched off at this point.
No charges were brought against Claire Bellamy for the next four months. Then in March 2019 the Scottish police charged Claire Bellamy with illegal hunting on the day Johnstone was present with Terry Hill. In June this year Alison Johnstone announced her consultation to ban fox hunting out right – perspicacious timing indeed, no?
Being charged is one thing – having evidence that will stand up in court is another. COPFS (the Scottish Prosecution service) are by now fully aware of evidence fabrication by antis. Who would believe Terry Hill whose evidence has been so severely and repeatedly compromised in the past? Unsurprisingly, the COPFS let the time limit from which Claire Bellamy can be charged run out. The time limit ran out after six months but the case can be reinvestigated within a year – this means Claire Bellamy is left hanging around worrying not knowing if she will be prosecuted, rather than going to the press complaining about the League and their dodgy investigators.
Rural people like Claire Bellamy are not on this earth to be the victims of nasty charities who campaign to make money by smearing their victims with lies while constantly inferring criminality. We need to start suing and banning these charities now. If anyone is interested in exposing these groups then write to us via the contact page of this magazine.