HC Deb 09 December 1981 vol 14 cc860-1
39. Mr. Canavan

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland what criteria are used for deciding whether to prosecute people for incidents arising from fox-hunting.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

The same criteria are used to decide whether to prosecute in any such case as are used in any other case—namely, whether there is prima facie corroborated evidence that a criminal offence has been committed and, if so, whether a prosecution is merited.

Mr. Canavan

Has an investigation been made of the activities of the Linlithgow and Stirling hunt following my recent letter to the Lord Advocate? Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware of the blatant discrimination against some of my constituents who were arrested after a nonviolent, anti-hunt protest, such as blowing hunting horns, whereas members of the hunt and their supporters were allowed to use obstruction and violence? Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that a mounted policeman, who took part in the hunt, seemed to be taking orders from the master of the hunt? Is it not time that something was done to stop police protection being given to upper-class thugs and hooligans who take part in such a cruel blood sport?

Dr. M. S. Miller

Tally ho! Tail him.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I assume that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the foxes. There is no prejudice in any prosecution on any basis. I am sure that the House can well understand the hon. Gentleman's fellow feeling for the red fox.

Sir Russell Fairgrieve

If my hon. and learned Friend intends to proceed along the devious lines outlined by the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan), should he not include people involved in fishing and shooting?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

It might interest the House to know that in the incident, which is still sub judice, solvent was sprayed on dogs.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I did not know that the matter was sub judice.