Lee Peters, huntsman for the Ross Harriers Hunt who operate in south Herefordshire, has been found guilty of racially aggravated harassment and threatening behaviour after a three-day trial at Hereford Magistrates Court.
Peters, a 33-year-old father of two who lives in Coughton near Ross-on-Wye, was fined £720, ordered to pay £2,000 court costs and £200 compensation to his victim.
The conviction relates to an incident on January 7th 2012, when hunt saboteurs attended a meet of the Ross Harriers hunt at the Penny Farthing Inn at Aston Crews near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire. Peters shouted racist abuse at a black saboteur and threatened to attack another. The comments were overheard by a local man who was in his garden next to the road. He soon after reported it to the police.
A saboteur who was present told the Heckler:
“We hadn’t long arrived near their meet, and were parked up in one of two land rovers on a verge on the side of the road. The Harriers left their meet at the Penny Farthing pub and came around the corner, with Lee Peters riding at the front. His aggressive behaviour started immediately.
“He shouted “you’re all going to fucking get it” and either kicked the side of the vehicle or hit it with his riding crop. He then went to the rear of the land rover and looked through the window. He then said very loudly – presumably to the rest of the nearby riders – “Look, they’ve even got a f***ing w** in here.” This was aimed at one of our number who’s a black female.
“Despite this aggressive and repulsive behaviour, we carried on with what we intended to do for the rest of the day- monitoring the hunt and intervening if we believed illegal hunting was taking place.
“Word had obviously got back to Peters that the police were now after him, as he left his horse and took the hounds into a hard-to-reach area on foot, thinking that he could evade the police who were patrolling the area in a number of vehicles. He was arrested not long afterwards.”
In a press release by the Hunt Saboteurs Association, spokesman Lee Moon said:
“Decent people know that racism is completely unacceptable. The hunting community however appear to be stuck in some kind of time warp where it is still OK to use this kind of disgusting language. Maybe they would like to join us in the 21st Century and realise that racism, along with the senseless murder of animals in the name of sport, is something that society no longer tolerates. We hope the Ross Harriers do the right thing and sack Mr. Peters immediately to show that they do not condone racism.”
This local hunt has a growing reputation for being badly behaved. Only a fortnight ago we reported that one of their supporters was found guilty of assaulting a saboteur on another occasion.