Hunt protesters walk free after police order ruled invalid
Two hunt protestors have walked free from court after a judge ruled that an order made by police – the first of its kind under new legislation – was invalid.
Andrew Edgerton, 47, of Longleat Close, Minsterley, and Isla Humphreys, 39, of Rock Terrace, Llanidloes, had been charged with failing to comply with a dispersal order requiring them to leave an area on the outskirts of Denbigh during a meeting of the Flint and Denbigh hunt on January 24. Mr Wyn Jones, prosecuting at Prestatyn Magistrates Court, said the order was made under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
Inspector Gareth Jones, of North Wales Police, told the court that on January 20 he, in liaison with Sergeant Neil Stringfellow, felt that an order was necessary to prevent trouble at the meet four days later.
Deputy District Judge Richard Williams upheld a submission by Mrs Anna Price, defending, that the authority signed by Insp Jones was invalid as it did not specify clearly the area covered by the order, named as the Plas Heaton estate, and didn't include enough details in the rationale for making the order.
Sgt Stringfellow said after receiving a report that hunt supporter, Edward Lloyd-Ellis, had been assaulted, he went to the Plas Heaton estate and found Edgerton, the alleged assailant, sitting in a car. When asked to get out he refused, so Sgt Stringfellow decided to activate the order.
Sgt Stringfellow tried to serve an order on Humphreys she argued it was unlawful.
Both defendants and Mr Lloyd-Ellis had originally been charged with assault but all the cases were dropped.