Hunt Thug Freed

10/2/10

Second LACS Covert Filming Court Case Dropped

A second case against South Dorset terrierman Christopher Leadbetter has been dropped, the day before it was due to go to trial.

The cases involved covert surveillance carried out by the League Against Cruel Sports and had already led to a review of the legitimacy of secret filming as court evidence.

Mr Leadbeater of Dorchester was due to be tried today on a charge under the Badgers Act at Bournemouth Magistrates Court.

But yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told Mr Leadbeater's lawyers that it no longer had sufficient evidence to justify the prosecution.

Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance, said: "The prosecutions of Mr Leadbetter have raised hugely important questions about the legal process.

"A completely innocent man has spent two years clearing his name at the cost of over £250,000 to the taxpayer all because the police and CPS chose to pursue prosecutions based on the spurious allegations and unauthorised surveillance evidence of animal rights activists.

"If any good can come of this situation it is an acceptance that the police and the CPS, not animal rights activists, should uphold, investigate and prosecute the law.

"The role the League Against Cruel Sports played in these prosecutions meant that a fair and proper trial process was impossible".

Commenting on its website a LACS spokesman said: "The League's role is to collect evidence and pass this to the police, and the CPS have confirmed that it is legal for us to do this. Whether or not to prosecute someone is the decision of the CPS and in this case the CPS proceeded but later decided they had insufficient evidence."

The initial case against Mr Leadbeater was dropped last month after the judge ruled there was no case to answer.

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From Dusk 'til Dawn
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