The Countryside Alliance is challenging the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to consult the League Against Cruel Sports before it decides whether to follow through with a prosecution

Three men accused of illegally hunting stags have been told that the CPS will consult the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) before deciding whether to pursue a case.

The CPS said it would take eight days and over £100,000 to prosecute the members of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, who have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Countryside Alliance, in response, is writing to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve about the case.

“It has never been clear what evidence the CPS thinks it has, but relying on the advice of a pressure group like the LACS is quite disgraceful and can only lead to further abuse of the criminal justice system and waste of public money,” said Tim Bonner, director of Campaigns for the Countryside Alliance.

“It is the CPS’s role to make an independent judgment on the merits of evidence provided by the police. There should be no role for pressure groups in that process and the fact that the CPS is relying on such input reveals exactly why it is making such bad decisions. We welcome the suggestion that the CPS carries out a high level review of this prosecution and hope that it brings a halt to this process as soon as possible.”

Joint masters David Greenwood and Rupert Andrews and huntsman Donald Summersgill are charged with hunting a wild mammal with a dog. They deny the allegations.

The case has been adjourned until next month.