Exmoor Huntsman Tony Wright today (Friday, 4 August) announced he will launch an appeal against his conviction for an offence under the Hunting Act after today?s guilty verdict in a private case brought by the League Against Cruel Sports at Barnstaple magistrates? court.

Wright has become the first person to be found guilty of hunting foxes under the Hunting Act 2004, despite undisputed evidence that he was attempting to comply with the conditions for ?exempt hunting? with two hounds, a marksman and that a fox was shot. He was fined £500 for breaking the law, after the LACS filmed him out with foxhounds in April 2005.

As the action was not case law, the judgement sets no legal precedent and other courts in England and Wales would be able to take other views.

Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, commented after the verdict: ?No right-minded person thinks that Tony Wright should have been branded a criminal. If people were confused about the Hunting Act before today they will be a lot more confused now. We believe that he was trying to comply with the law as he understood it and will be supporting his appeal. This is a piece of legislation which took seven years and 700 hours of parliamentary time to get onto the statute book yet still it is illogical and unclear. Any law which can put a man like Tony Wright through nine months of court action and tell him he is a criminal for doing something he believed was entirely legal clearly isn?t working.”

Find out how the verdict impacts on shooting in next Thursday’s 10 August issue of Shooting Times.