Millionaire businessman huntsman guilty of illegal fox hunting

Mark Pearson, 64, of Child Okeford, near Blandford, has been found guilty in the Weymouth Magistrates’ Court of the illegal hunting of a fox with dogs. He is the director of a concrete business and joint master of the South Dorset Hunt. He wasn’t aware that he was being filmed by hunt saboteurs.

Mark Pearson
Mark Pearson. Image: BNPS.

At the time he was leading the South Dorset Hunt through countryside in Bere Regis. The date: December 13, 2021. At the time the majority of the hunt had left but hunt saboteurs continued to monitor what was going on because they heard hounds baying.

The footage shows Pearson allowing his dogs to chase and kill a fox. It was alleged that he encouraged the dogs to kill a cornered Fox by shouting “carry on” and “hunt on”. He was filmed carrying the dead fox out of the undergrowth.

His defence barrister in court, Derek Perry, denied that he had encouraged the hounds to kill the fox. He said that he tried to call the dog’s back by shouting “leave it”. He claimed that when the hounds didn’t obey, he got off his horse and went down a hill to tell the hounds to leave the fox.

The presiding magistrate Justice Steven Corben disagreed with his defence barrister. He said that Pearson should have had control over the hounds before they killed the fox.

The judge said that the video evidence and witness evidence was credible and consistent with Pearson losing control of his hounds. It seems that the judge found him guilty because he should have had full control of his pack of hounds, and he didn’t.

Because Pearson tried to call his hounds back, but it didn’t work he found him guilty “of the illegal hunting of a wild mammal” under Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004. Under that act “A person commits an offence if he hunts a wild mammal with a dog”.

Comment: it seems that it doesn’t matter whether he encouraged the dogs to carry on and kill the fox or as claimed he tried to stop them. The case turned on whether he was in control of the dogs or not and he wasn’t according to the judge based on the evidence. On that basis he was going guilty under the act.

There is a constant battle between hunt saboteurs and foxhunters as the world knows. People who support foxhunting and who accompany foxhunts can sometimes get into fracas with hunt saboteurs.

This happened recently when news media reported that the police had confirmed that an elderly man had been arrested for disorder towards hunt saboteurs. This occurred separately to the above event and concerns a different hunt.

Hunt saboteurs called White Hunt Sabs captured video footage of a 71-year-old man being arrested by the police for using threatening and abusive words or behaviour towards them. He was released later, and no action was taken against him.

Ironically the hunt called the police but one of their supporters ended up being arrested.

Below are a couple more foxhunting stories. There are more. Please use the search facility.

Hunt master seriously damaged the reputation of foxhunting

Woman foxhunter slaps ‘uncooperative’ horse in face and kicks it

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
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Post Category: Foxes