Derby

New Year hunt scuffle judge Mark Davies angry at treatment

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Media captionFootage played in court showed the judge and saboteur scuffling

A judge has said he will lodge formal complaints over his treatment after being found not guilty of assaulting two hunt saboteurs.

Video footage showed Mark Davies confronting a group of saboteurs at a New Year's Day hunt last year in Barlow, Derbyshire.

On Wednesday he was found not guilty at Chesterfield Magistrates' Court.

Mr Davies, 67, said he planned to submit complaints to Derbyshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The footage of the scuffle, one of three videos shown in court, showed Mr Davies approaching Austin Jordan with his arms out after the four hunt saboteurs, dressed in black, were told to leave.

Slightly off camera they made contact and Mr Davies, chairman of the hunt, ended up on the floor. He then got up and tackled William Robinson, a second hunt saboteur.

Initially, Mr Davies, from Sheffield, complained to police that he had been assaulted but he ended up facing two charges of assault by beating.

Mr Davies argued he was "fearful" for himself and his wife - a retired superintendant for South Yorkshire Police - and acted in self defence.

But the prosecution alleged Mr Davies had been the aggressor and was partly motivated by a dislike for hunt saboteurs.

Image caption Hunt saboteurs protested outside the trial at Chesterfield Magistrates' Court

Mr Davies described hunt saboteurs in court as "anarchists" and "class warriors" with "no interest in animals".

District Judge Andrew Davison concluded there was not enough evidence to find Mr Davies guilty of assaulting and beating Mr Jordan.

On the second charge concerning Mr Robinson, he noted Mr Robinson was moving away with arms outstretched when Mr Davies tackled him.

But he accepted Mr Davies honestly believed he was defending himself with reasonable force and found him not guilty.

After the trial, Mr Davies said he planned to lodge a formal complaint with Derbyshire Police's chief constable and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Davies said he continued to believe he was the victim, although no charges have been brought.

He said: "Derbyshire Constabulary and the CPS should hold their heads in shame."

A spokeswoman for Derbyshire Police said the force had not yet received his complaint and would consider it when it did.

A spokesman for the CPS said prosecutors did not decide a person's guilt but made "fair, independent and objective assessments" about whether there was enough evidence to take a case to court.

He added: "The decision to prosecute this case was made on the basis of the evidence provided to us, including video footage of the incident which we showed to the court during proceedings."

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