Court hounds Heythrop Hunt

The RSPCA is prosecuting members of Heythrop Hunt on 45 counts of breaching the Hunting Act 2004 in the spring 2012 hunting season.

The hunt, which gained national coverage when it emerged David Cameron had ridden with it, will face nine counts of hunting a wild mammal with a dog. With the six-week trial to start on 13 December at Bicester Magistrates’ Court, several members of the hunt face individual charges: huntsman Julian Barnfield, 48, was charged with the same nine counts as the hunt, of hunting a wild mammal with a dog, and Duncan Hune, 32, and joint master of the hunt, Vanessa Lambert, 29, will be up against seven related charges.

This comes after the RSPCA dropped two charges that it had made against Julian Barnfield in 2011; it has now re-launched the prosecution on a larger scale, incorporating the hunt itself and other members.

When the hunting ban was first proposed, David Cameron described it as “illiberal and bossy”. A free vote on it in the House of Commons, part of his 2010 manifesto, is yet to be timetabled in Parliament.

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