BY NIGEL BEAN & PAUL READ
Attempts by the animal rights extremists and their supporters in both the Scottish Parliament and Police force to secure a hunting prosecution ahead of the Scottish elections – to be used for propaganda purposes – ended in dismal failure on Thursday 29th April.
The Scottish Greens’ manifesto commitment is to ban pest controlling with packs of dogs, driven grouse shooting and certain types of traps including snaring. Of course the greens have no chance of winning the election outright but neither for that matter have the SNP, so it’s a coalition the Greens seek with the SNP whereby they can make demands to ban these very necessary countryside activities that provide much-needed jobs in remote rural areas.
They were always up against it. Prosecuting Lee Peters with evidence solely provided by a LACS contractor going by the name of Terry Hill was the equivalent of British cycling calling Lance Armstrong as a witness. It never was going to end well. As we reported before, Lee Peters is Teflon-coated and attempts by extremists and their friends in the police force to pin crimes on him that he did not commit have all ended in failure.
His accuser on the other hand – Terry Hill, or should we say Spike Stocker – is a crook. His wheeze in this instance was to use a camcorder to show no guns present – guns must be present to shoot a fox as is the law in Scotland. Terry has a highly dubious past and when we discovered he was giving evidence against a huntsman from the Duke of Buccleuch’s hunt in Oct 2018, circus folk rushed to provide evidence of his scurrilous past in attempt to avert more travesties of justice.
This damning information was passed onto the Scottish Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) during a pause in the trial and later the huntsman was acquitted. After the trial, the COPFS denied the information on Terry Hills’ dodgy dealings with the circus industry had any bearing on the trial as it would have meant their only hunting prosecution of a huntsman (not Lee Peters) from the Jedforest hunt in 2017 would have be in serious doubt. And more importantly the upcoming prosecution of Gamekeeper Alan Wilson using Terry Hill as their main witness would have been kiboshed. I will leave you to make up your own mind on the political pressure that has been muddying the waters of late.
It is most concerning that Terry Hill had been seen out with certain Scottish police officers monitoring hunts and it was to these same officers, based in a faraway police station, to whom he took his ‘evidence’ of illegal hunting by Lee Peters – oddly, not to a police station nearer to where the claimed ‘crime’ took place. Hill also made sure the press carried an article on the incident.
Before the trial, the sheriff had been made fully aware that Terry Hill had worked on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) – that they have an agenda to seek a change in the law on hunting – and so Hill’s evidence should be treated accordingly. It was then discovered Terry Hill had been out on behalf of LACS trying to film illegal hunting more than 300 times.
During the trial, the COPFS asked Terry Hill to explain various matters which were observed on his film, which he did, and Mr Hill also offered information without being prompted to do so. The defence Barrister cross-examined Terry Hill and asked him questions regarding what he couldn’t see, together with what he did, and Hill was forced to concede that there were multiple blind spots, which his camcorder did not cover.
The barrister then brought up the videos taken in another incident a year previous where Terry Hill was seen to be claiming there were no guns present to shoot a fox when in actuality there were three guns present – including the cameraman who couldn’t unsheathe his gun – because Terry was persistently putting himself in danger.
Just after that the 2nd gun was filmed, Terry was filmed passing a third gunman:
According to Terry the evidence against him was just ‘lies’. He then became obstructive to the barristers questioning that required the Sheriff’s intervention at least two occasions. A true believer!
Shockingly the prosecutor – knowing full well Hill’s past scurrilous activities with the circuses – then attempted to twist the words of the hunting act in a desperate bid to confuse the sheriff who was having none of it. He produced his laptop and sat with the hunting act in front of him until the prosecutor was able to twist no more. The gunmen gave statements saying they were in position to shoot foxes and Lee Peters explained some escaping hounds had left cover without his knowledge and passed Terry Hill’s position and a quick-thinking supporter went to retrieve them and was in the process of turning them back when huntsman Lee Peters became aware of the situation and blew for their return.
The sheriff found Lee not guilty.
This was nothing more than an exercise in a vexatious prosecution for political purposes and had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with animal welfare. We wish Lee Peters all the best for the future and do hope – for the sake of his health and his family life – he is no longer pestered by this bunch of ideologically possessed extremists, who stop at nothing, the nasty bastards that they are.