Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Secret Filming Sees Trio Found Guilty of Hunting

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Secret Filming Sees Trio Found Guilty of Hunting

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Luke Reporter adam.luke@trinitymirror.com

THREE Northumberland huntsmen have been found guilty of fox hunting.

Joint master Timothy Wyndham Basil Smalley, huntsman Ian McKie and kennel huntsman Andrew Proe, of College Valley and North Northumberland Hunt, were all convicted of hunting a wild mammal with dogs following a trial at Berwick Magistrates' Court.

The trio were secretly filmed by two League Against Cruel Sports investigators as they led a meet in and around West Kyloe Farm near Lowick on Thursday, February 27.

They had claimed they were trying to follow a legal scent trail of fox urine and the foxes were disturbed unintentionally.

But District Judge Bernard Begley concluded that McKie, 56, of Wooler, Proe, 52, of Cornhill-on-Tweed, and Smalley, 53, of Lowick, intentionally hunted the animal instead of the scent on one occasion.

A not guilty verdict was reached on another count relating to a different fox. During the trial, the court heard Smalley, who grew up in Kyloe and is one of five joint masters responsible for the conduct and finances of the hunt, signalled for the hunt to follow a fox which had bolted from gorse bushes by removing his hat and pointing in its direction.

McKie, who controls the hounds, and his assistant Proe, who looks after them in the kennels, encouraged the dogs to pick up the scent with shouts and blasts on the hunting horn.

Mr Begley, sentencing, said: "I accept that a trail was laid at the start of the day but, as events unfolded, the offence occurred and, as very experienced members of the hunt, you should have known better.

"The impact of these convictions on your good character and on the College Valley and North Northumberland Hunt is not lost on me, but all actions have consequences, however dramatic."

During his summing up, prosecutor Jonathan Moore said: "Going after the real thing accidentally is not an offence but going after the real thing intentionally is. …

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