Hunter's assault conviction after 'fight over dead fox' overturned
PUBLISHED: 06:43 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:25 23 October 2019
Countryside campaigners have expressed their delight after a man who was found guilty of assaulting a hunt saboteur following a "fight" over a dead fox had his conviction overturned on appeal.
Archibald Clifton-Brown was found guilty of assaulting anti-fox hunting campaigner Steven Milton, after he seized a carcass during the Great Thurlow Hunt on Boxing Day 2017, however questions were raised over the decision.
The 20-year-old from Little Bradley was convicted of common assault by a district judge in March in a trial which also saw co-defendant Christopher Amatt, 59, of Wickhambrook, found guilty of killing a fox for sport.
An appeal which concluded at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday (October 22) was immediately launched against the decisions.
Mr Clifton-Brown, who was also charged, but eventually cleared of a Hunting Act offence, again denied assaulting Mr Milton and claimed he was retrieving the carcass to stop theft of private property from the Thurlow Estate, near Haverhill stating that he used reasonable force during the incident.
Video footage showing the scuffle was used as evidence during the initial trial which saw Mr Clifton-Brown convicted.
On his return to Suffolk Crown Court, Mr Clifton-Brown heard his conviction overturned by Mr Recorder Jonathan Ashley-Norman QC.
Concluding the appeal, Mr Recorder told the court that after reviewing the video footage, he was content that the force used by Mr Clifton-Brown during the disagreement was "reasonable".
Adrian Simpson of the Countryside Alliance spoke on behalf of Mr Clifton-Brown following the hearing.
He said: "We're absolutely delighted that justice has been done.
"You have got to reflect on the amount of suffering and distress that the defendant has had over the ensuing period after he was actually convicted.
"I think we've got to question that. How this arose in the first place?
"The conviction in the lower court was patently wrong and that's what gave us the grounds to appeal the conviction today in court.
"He has been cleared and can walk away from here with a clean character and we are absolutely delighted by that."