As ConservativeHome reports, Mr Ruffley asked the Home Office “how many (a) charges, (b) prosecutions, (c) convictions, (d) cautions and (e) fines there have been for breaches of the Hunting Act 2004 in each police force area since its enactment?”.
The answer, my friends, is all but blowing in the wind, for the State, with all its might and main has managed to come up with the following:
In 2005 there were three prosecutions by three constabularies. There were three fines and one caution in total.
In 2006 there were eleven prosecutions by four different police forces. There were five guilty verdicts which led to the imposition of five fines. No cautions were administered.
There has only been one conviction of a Huntsman or hunt supporter, that of Tony Wright, Huntsman of the Exmoor Foxhounds, which ended humiliatingly and ignominiously for the self-appointed vigilantes of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) when Mr. Wright was rightly and triumphantly acquitted on the evidence on appeal to Exeter Crown Court recently. This has left enforcement of the Act in tatters and the LACS with lots of egg on its face as it surveys the ruin of its handiwork.
Typical of the successes of the LACS bully boys was the prosecution of a couple of diddicoys who were coursing their lurchers after hares at a farm in Northamptonshire which in times past would have been dealt with to everyone’s satisfaction under anti-poaching legislation. Instead the LACS whipped themselves into Blissful Onanistic Fury when Northamptonshire Police chose to prosecute under the Act instead.
Given the many hundreds of man-days (and women-days and child-days) that have been spent in the field on horseback and on foot by our hunting fraternity, the LACS have precious little to celebrate as they contemplate the unenforceability of their rotten piece of spite. Eight convictions in two years must seem precious little recompense for all those years of vigilanteism in the cold and the wet and the 700 hours of Parliamentary time which might have been better spent on solving some of the real problems that confront all our people.
Forgive me, my fellow countrymen, if I indulge myself in a little snigger at their discombobulation.