Leading huntsman Mark Hankinson has entered a plea of “not guilty”after being charged with intentionally encouraging or assisting others to commit an offence under the Hunting Act 2004. The trial is set for the 20th/21st of September at Westminster Magistrates Court. We strongly advise people not to comment on this active case until all legal proceedings have taken place.
In a video released by the Hunt Saboteur Association on November 13th, Mark Hankinson (MFHA Director, Hunting Office Executive Director, and former Master of the Wilton Hunt) was shown on camera explaining how trails are laid to create a smokescreen and “to portray to the people watching that you’re going about legitimate business”.
Below are a couple of full extracts from the 3-hour long webinar as Mark Hankinson explains the importance of fake trail laying:
“It’s a lot easier to create a smokescreen if you’ve got more than one trail layer operating and that is what it’s all about,trying to portray to the people watching that you’re going about legitimate business. Obviously, it’s important for the trail layers to know where you’re going to go. Give them a brief beforehand, tell them what your order of draw is and if it changes for any reason let them know. You’ve got to have clear communication.”
The three webinars were part of a series that took place in August this year and were attended by over a hundred and fifty hunt masters from across the country. The panel was made up of leaders of the hunting community.
On 12th February it was reported that Mark Hankinson had been charged following a police investigation into the webinars. As reported on by BBC News
“Police said they launched an investigation after the content of webinars held on 11 and 13 August on the theme of hunting was brought to their attention.”