THE Isle of Wight Council has administered a grant of £10,000 of taxpayers’ money to the Isle of Wight Hunt, saying that it was not a discretionary grant.
While our council was one of just seven local authorities authorising the payment, 180 others used their discretion and common sense not to do so.
Only recently (September) this same council wasted thousands of pounds and bore the brunt of years of costs incurred collecting evidence to take this same hunt to court firstly to establish that the hunt was a noise nuisance to local residents and then secondly to prove that the hunt ignored the Noise Abatement Notice served on them a year earlier in 2019.
So how was the money wasted?
It was the IW Council itself who was prosecuting the hunt.
Yet, having amassed literally hundreds of recordings and videos, letters and emails including recordings on the council’s own secure equipment and personally witnessed by environmental officers, the Council’s barrister offered ‘no formal evidence’ to the court.
Despite hunt directors Anthony Blest and John Curtis admitting their guilt, Judge Callaway decided to not take the case to court on the day, because his only possible action was to fine them and the hunt ‘had no money’.
Hence all of the prosecution costs and fees up to court day morning were paid for by local council tax payers.
But worse, it now appears that the same Isle of Wight Council had already awarded the hunt £10,000 before the court fiasco, so they did have at least £10,000.
An additional cause for concern is that this same Judge Callaway that kept Blest and Curtis out of the dock, was the same judge who excused huntsman Inglesant from having to enter the dock in December 2019 after another Gatcombe resident and her leashed dog were attacked by the huntsman’s terrier and the hunt hounds.
The winners of this tale of bias and shame? The hunt.
The losers? The local council tax payers and the local residents who continue to endure the noise nuisance. Oh! and those people who believe in justice.
It has been suggested the hunt directors might gift the whole £10,000 to IW charities who deserve and can make better use of the money than supporting a group of people chasing pretend scents around our beautiful Island.
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