Scotland’s only huntswoman will not have a criminal record. Claire Bellamy was charged last year for allegedly breaching fox hunting rules. Instead of appearing in the dock Bellamy, a Lauderdale Hunt member based in the borders, has accepted a Direct Measure.
The League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, which has video evidence of Bellamy allegedly breaking the law, made the discovery.
Technically a Direct Measure is not an admission of guilt. Bellamy may now get off with a warning or fine after allegedly breaching the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 on 24th October 2017.
Robbie Marsland director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland said: “We are concerned that Bellamy will not appear in court. We are perplexed that the Fiscal cannot tell us whether it was just a warning or a fine and the reasons this route was taken.
“Anyone considering breaking this law may be encouraged into thinking that they will not have to face the courts even if they are found out.”
Mr Marsland says the law needs to change. “The law as it stands is confusing and convoluted,” he added. “Successful prosecutions are extremely difficult. This may explain the reasoning behind this case. The law must be improved. We urge the Scottish Government to ban hunting in Scotland.”
A Crown Office spokesman said: “It is the duty of the Crown to keep cases under review. After full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Procurator Fiscal decided that there should be no further criminal proceedings. The case would be more appropriately dealt with by way of an alternative to prosecution, Direct Measure.”