Appeal over conviction for hunt saboteur assault in ‘fight over dead fox’

Archibald Clifton-Brown on the way to Ipswich Crown Court in March Picture: ARCHANT

Archibald Clifton-Brown on the way to Ipswich Crown Court in March Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A man found guilty of assaulting a hunt saboteur during a dispute over a dead fox has launched an appeal over his conviction.

Archibald Clifton-Brown on the way to Ipswich Crown Court in March Picture: ARCHANT

Archibald Clifton-Brown on the way to Ipswich Crown Court in March Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Archibald Clifton-Brown returned to Ipswich Crown Court on Monday - seven months after he was convicted of assaulting Steven Milton, who had seized the carcass during the Great Thurlow Hunt on Boxing Day 2017.

Clifton-Brown was convicted of common assault by a district judge following a three-day trial in March - when co-defendant Christopher Amatt, 59, of Wickhambrook, was also found guilty of killing a fox for sport - in what was considered a landmark case for Suffolk.

Clifton-Brown, 20, of Little Bradley, who was also charged, but eventually cleared of the Hunting Act offence, took the stand again to deny assaulting Mr Milton and claim he was retrieving the carcass to stop theft of private property from the Thurlow Estate, near Haverhill.

A video of the incident, filmed by saboteurs, was replayed to the tribunal before prosecutor Richard Kelly accused Clifton-Brown of using unlawful force to prevent saboteurs from retrieving evidence of the kill.

"You went completely over the top," said Mr Kelly.

"There was no need for you to become physically involved. It did nothing to defuse the situation."

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Clifton-Brown said the saboteurs already had all the evidence they needed on video, adding: "I did what I thought was right, and what I was told to do, to prevent theft of a fox."

He argued it was he who was assaulted; first by Mr Milton clamping a hand on his arm and elbowing him in the face, and then by being knocked in the head by another saboteur.

Peter Glenser QC, for Clifton-Brown, had earlier questioned why Mr Milton felt the need to retrieve the dead fox.

Mr Milton told him: "I believe I needed to seize the carcass because I had no idea what other evidence would be available.

"I know my camera was obscured, so removing the fox would be absolute proof."

Mr Milton told the court he was grabbed in a "bear hug" by Clifton-Brown, while attempting to run away, and wrestled towards mounted huntsman, Christopher Amatt.

"We were effectively fighting over the carcass of the fox," he said.

The hearing is expected to conclude on Tuesday.

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