TWO hunt supporters have been cleared of taking part in a gang attack on a hunt saboteur who had his leg broken when a boulder was deliberately dropped on it.
John Paul Lyth, 37, and David Moorcroft, 46, denied being involved in the incident in Cheshire in February last year.
Yesterday, after victim Matthew Welsh had completed giving his evidence, the prosecution offered no evidence against the two defendants on a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent. Prosecuting barrister Andrew Jebb said that the decision had been taken because of uncertainty over the evidence of identification.
Not guilty verdicts were recorded but Judge Derek Halbert, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said that it should be made known to Mr Welsh that the verdicts would not prevent him from making a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
Lyth of Northern Rise, Great Sutton, and Moorcroft of Onslow Road, Kensington, Liverpool, who denied the charge, were discharged from the dock but left court refusing to make any comment.
Both had told police officers that they had not been involved in the incident and it was claimed by defence lawyers in court that it was the hunt security marshals that had come under attack from saboteurs from Liverpool and Manchester.
The jury had heard prosecution claims that Mr Welsh, from Liverpool, was held down by at least two hunt supporters while another dropped a rock on his leg, fracturing it below the knee.
The incident happened during a meeting of the Cheshire Forest Hunt near Northwich in February of last year, when fighting broke out between hunt saboteurs and hunt marshals
The prosecution alleged that the two defendants helped hold down Mr Welsh while a third unidentified man dropped the rock on him.
The attack failed on the first occasion because Mr Welsh was able to wriggle his legs away, Mr Jebb explained.
But on the second occasion those holding him did a better job and the rock was dropped directly onto his right leg, fracturing it just below the knee, it was claimed.