Trial of Sheffield judge accused of attacking anti-fox hunting campaigners in Derbyshire delayed

The trial of a Sheffield judge accused of assaulting two anti-fox hunting campaigners has been adjourned until next year.

By Andy Done-Johnson
Friday, 13th December 2019, 8:48 am

Mark Davies, aged 67, of Lumb Lane, Bradfield, chairman of the Barlow Hunt, is accused of assaulting Austin Jordan and William Robinson in a field on private land at Highlightley Farm, at Barlow, on New Year’s Day this year.

The second day of his trial was set to take place on Wednesday, December 11, at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court, but was adjourned on the day to Wednesday, January 8. The reason for the delay was not clear.

During the first day of proceedings, on Tuesday, November 12, the court heard that Davies - who is a first tier immigration tribunal judge - and his wife Joan Williams, who is a Joint Master of the Hunt and a former South Yorkshire Police Superintendent, were observing the event while campaigners were monitoring the area to ensure no foxes were harmed.

Animal rights campaigners stood outside Chesterfield magistrates' court during a previous hearing.

Mr Jordan and Mr Robinson were heading towards Davies and his wife who told them they were trespassing, according to prosecutor Ian Shaw, before they were allegedly attacked by Mr Davies.Mr Shaw said: “When they reach Mr Davies and his wife they are told they are trespassing and they should go away and the difference in accounts comes into play.“Mr Davies says he was attacked by Mr Jordan and he acted in self defence. Mr Jordan said he was grabbed first by the throat and pushed back and Mr Davies went to the floor.“Then Mr Davies is seen to push Mr Robinson into a bush.”Mr Jordan, who is a member of the Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs, told the court he and five others were present to ensure Barlow Hunt did not kill any foxes which is illegal.Defending, Stephen Welford confirmed at the time of the hunt both Mr Jordan and Mr Robinson and some others in their group were members of the Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs and Mr Jordan had citronella spray and Mr Robinson had a horn to distract the hounds. He argued Mr Jordan and Mr Robinson and others had been committing aggravated trespassing by being on private land without permission while interfering with a lawful activity.