Belvoir Hunt agrees to pay £50K to investigators who members assaulted

Professional investigator Darryl Cunnington being treated by a medic after being assaulted by two members of the Belvoir Hunt in March 2016 EMN-190813-171024001
Professional investigator Darryl Cunnington being treated by a medic after being assaulted by two members of the Belvoir Hunt in March 2016 EMN-190813-171024001
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The Belvoir Hunt has agreed to pay £50,000 compensation to two men who were viciously assaulted by members while they were monitoring a meeting near Stathern.

An out-of-court settlement was reached yesterday (Tuesday) after the start of civil proceedings brought by League Against Cruel Sports investigators, Darryl Cunnington and Roger Swaine, following the incidents in March 2016.

Professional investigator Darryl Cunnington who was assaulted by two members of the Belvoir Hunt EMN-190813-171043001

Professional investigator Darryl Cunnington who was assaulted by two members of the Belvoir Hunt EMN-190813-171043001

Former policeman Mr Cunnington had his neck broken in three places during the assault and his injuries meant he had to take nine months off work to recover.

Mr Swaine, a field operator for the League, was also injured and had his video camera stolen.

Both men have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress following the incident.

George Grant, the Belvoir Hunt terrier man, and his son Thomas Grant, pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court in June last year to charges of grievous bodily harm on Mr Cunnington, actual bodily harm on Mr Swaine, theft of a video camera and criminal damage of a memory card.

Both received suspended custodial sentences, were ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid work and also to pay £500 to both victims.

Four other masked men involved in the attack have never been identified and brought to justice.

Following the start of civil proceedings against the Belvoir Hunt to recover damages, it was agreed out of court that Mr Cunnington would receive £37,500 in compensation, and Mr Swaine £11,000.

Both men were represented by campaigning solicitor Helen Clifford, who said: “High Court proceedings were issued against the Belvoir Hunt on the grounds that they were vicariously liable for the assaults and acts of harassment committed by the Grants.

“My clients’ compensation was paid by the hunt.

“Whilst liability was denied throughout, the payment of compensation by the hunt speaks for itself.

“No-one should be injured at work.

“Those who break the law should be held to account.”

Andy Knott MBE, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “I want to commend Darryl and Roger for the courage and dignity they have shown throughout their ordeal and for the determination of their solicitor, Helen Clifford, to see that they are compensated.

“That four other balaclava-wearing men also involved have been able to evade justice is extraordinary and I am calling on the Belvoir Hunt to name them.

“Hunting in England and Wales was banned in 2005.

“There is no reason to seriously assault anyone peacefully monitoring activity if there was nothing to hide.

“Retired police officers with a distinguished record of service such as Darryl, and others also amongst our professional investigators such as Roger, work tirelessly to ensure the law is upheld.

“They deserve its full protection.”

The Belvoir Hunt said in a statement released after the settlement: “The Belvoir Hunt condemns violence of any sort and took all reasonable steps to avoid such confrontation.

“It regrets that anyone was hurt and has agreed to settle this matter rather than waste more time and money.”