A Crawley and Horsham hunt master who was found guilty of aggressively confronting a hunt protester has had his conviction overturned.
Kim Richardson, joint-master of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, was convicted of aggressively confronting hunt protester Raoul D’Monte in October last year.
He was found guilty at Horsham Magistrates’ Court and was fined a total of £3,255.
However, following an appeal at Lewes Crown Court on April 20 the Crown Prosecution Service said he was acquitted of the charge.
Representing Richardson in court Peter Glenser QC said: “Kim should never have been charged in the first place yet alone had to go as far as Crown Court on appeal, however it is of course brilliant news.”
Tim Easby, director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, added: “We are absolutely thrilled at the outcome but this should never have got to this stage and it has understandably put a lot of unnecessary strain on Kim and his family.”
Mr Richardson said he was delighted with the outcome.
Polly Portwin, Countryside Alliance’s Head of Hunting, added: “This case should never have gone this far and is another example of thousands of pounds being wasted in court and police time.’’
The Crown prosecution Service said it had carefully considered the evidence and respected the court’s decision.
A spokesman said “This case was charged following careful consideration of the evidence in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
“The defendant was convicted following a magistrates’ court trial in October 2017. The conviction was subsequently overturned on appeal and we respect the decision of the court.”