To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to investigate the basis on which the Crown Prosecution Service brought charges against Mr Liddle of the Melbreak Hunt, charges which were then dropped.
19 February 2015
Cumbria Constabulary charged Mr Liddle with hunting a wild mammal with dogs (contrary to Sections 1 and 6 of the Hunting Act 2004) and allowing dogs to be dangerously out of control (contrary to Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991). This followed an incident on 9 March 2014 when members of the public witnessed a fox being killed by a pack of hounds on land near Buttermere. The police were satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to charge Mr Liddle and issued a postal requisition on 6 June 2014. These offences fall within the category of offences where the charging decision rests with the police. Mr Liddle appeared at Workington Magistrates Court on 27 June 2014 and pleaded not guilty to all charges. Following receipt of all the evidential material from the police, the case was reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service’s North West Area Wildlife Crime Lead. He applied the Code for Crown Prosecutors and determined that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction having considered all of the required elements of the offence. Following consultation with Cumbria Constabulary the case was discontinued on 10 September 2014. The Crown Prosecution Service did not, therefore, bring charges against Mr Liddle. The case was brought to an end after the full evidential material was reviewed.