Two wildlife campaigners who waged a lengthy war against fox hunting have seen a court case against them dropped.
Husband and wife Simon and Jaine Wild, from Bognor, faced High Court action to ban them and other hunt monitors from large areas of West Sussex. More than 80 landowners backed the Crawley and Horsham Hunt’s bid to block the West Sussex Wildlife Protection Group and the Wilds from about 10,000 acres of land. But the claimants have now withdrawn the proceedings and have agreed to pay almost all the defence costs, expected to be in excess of £60,000.
The Wilds' solicitor, Victoria Pogge von Strandmann, of Fisher Meredith Solicitors, said the hunt dropped the case after unsuccessfully applying for an interim injunction o¬n July 15 last year. She said it was then adjourned at the claimants’ request after two aborted trials in which the judge dismissed two of the grounds for it, nuisance and trespass, because they had “fundamental defects”. That limited the claim to o¬ne of harassment, which Mrs Wild and the other defendants denied.
Antony Sandeman, joint-master of the hunt, claimed that the protesters had changed their behaviour since the case was brought, rendering it pointless. He said: “The hunt has never sought to stop any legitimate scrutiny of its activities and as a result of the action the behaviour of activists has changed out of all recognition. “We will, however, be continuing to monitor the behaviour of activists.”
Mr and Mrs Wild denied that she or her husband had altered their tactics in hunt monitoring and that their scrutiny would continue in the future.