Hunt Master guilty of racially abusing hunt protestor

15/11/2012

The leader of the Ross Harriers Hunt, David Lee Peters, aged 33, has today been found guilty at Hereford Magistrates’ court of racially abusing and threatening a hunt protestor.

The incident, which took place on 7 January 2012, occurred when hunt protestors gathered in Aston Crews, near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire to protest against the meeting of the Ross Harriers Hunt.

Colin Molloy, Senior Sector Crown Prosecutor and with lead responsibility for hate crime offences for West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said:

"Hunt protestors had gathered in Aston Crews to legally protest against a hunt gathering which was occurring that day. The victim was sat in a car when David Peters rode alongside the car and observed her sitting there. He then used racially abusive words to describe the victim, which were heard by fellow protestors and an independent witness. The victim was extremely upset at what was said and reported this matter to the police.

"Peters was fined £20 for the non racially aggravated offence and £700 for the racially aggravated offence. That difference in sentence should not be overlooked because it confirms the intent of the court to recognise the impact such offences has on our victims and communities. By pursuing the case to trial lasting four days the CPS has signalled equal commitment to drive out such unacceptable behaviour.

"This type of language or behaviour will not and should not be tolerated by anyone. People from all communities have a right to be protected from the prejudice at the root of racist or hate crime, and the CPS is determined to play its part in this. To this end, we now have specialist hate crime prosecutors who are experienced in dealing with some of the common issues related to such cases.

"Where we have evidence that a crime took place because of hostility to someone's race, prosecutors will present this to the courts as an aggravating factor requiring an uplift in the sentence imposed because of that aggravating feature. It is vital that people recognise what this crime is in the first place, from name-calling and physical attacks to offensive graffiti, abusive or gestures. Often victims are not aware that what they are experiencing is a crime.

"If you feel that you have been a victim of a hate crime then please report it to the police and the CPS will look to prosecute the offenders."

David Peters was fined a total of £720, ordered to pay £2000 court costs and to pay £200 compensation to the victim as well as a £15 victim's surcharge.