Judge 'was acting in self-defence' following fox hunt assault in Derbyshire field

A District judge ruled that a senior immigration judge had been acting in self defence when he ‘attacked’ two hunt saboteurs in a Derbyshire field.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:36 pm

Mark Davies, aged 67, of Lumb Lane, Bradfield, chairman of the Barlow Hunt, was found not guilty of assaulting Austin Jordan and William Robinson - both members of the Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs group - in a field on private land at Highlightley Farm, at Barlow, on January 1, 2019.

District Judge Andrew Davison, who had presided over the two-day trial at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court, said the prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Davies had committed assault on both the men.

Delivering his conclusions on Wednesday, January 8, he told the court that there was no evidence that Mr Davies had intended to attack Mr Jordan after they got into a grapple, but video evidence clearly showed Mr Davies being pushed hard, falling to the ground and receiving injuries to his face. He said it was not clear whether Mr Davies had hit him in the face with a canister, as Mr Davies had claimed in his own defence.

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Chesterfield Magistrates' Court where Mark Davies was found not guilty
Chesterfield Magistrates' Court where Mark Davies was found not guilty

In regards to the attack on Mr Robinson, video evidence showed Mr Davies rising to his feet following the first incident, before launching himself at the hunt saboteur in a rugby tackle-style move, driving him to the floor and into a patch of brambles.

District Judge Davison said that, while the video evidence showed a clear assault, he accepted that, based on the circumstances, and because Mr Davies had already been knocked to the floor, he was “worried about further injury either to himself of his wife” who was also at the scene and was also seen to be pushed to the round.

He said that, because of this, he felt that Mr Davies had been acting in self defence at the time.

“He says that he was made to feel intimidated and fearful by the group of four, for himself but also for his wife and he told me [during his evidence] that either himself or his wife were at risk of assault from the group.”