Hunting ASBOs
Dec 27, 2006
Bishop Hill

Via The Englishman, an article in the Telegraph which reports that the League Against Cruel Sports are going to try to use ASBOs against foxhunts.

Asbos could be served for trespassing, parking 4x4 vehicles in country lanes and "aggressive behaviour" by huntsmen and hounds against people and pets, said the league which has managed only one successful private prosecution since the Act came into force in February 2005.

This is of course what civil libertarians have always said was the major problem with ASBOs. They require so little by way of proof that they become a route to oppress those who can't be convicted of anything, either because of a lack of evidence or because they haven't actually done anything wrong. Either way, the Government doesn't care, it just wants them dealt with and a headline secured.

Fortunately their chances of success seem slim:

But Andrew Keogh, a Manchester solicitor who edited Asbo Law Reports, said: "The easiest [complaint] to go for would be dogs barking or being unruly. But I view the chances of success as very slim indeed."

This is good news. It wouldn't surprise me though to see the hunts try the same approach on the League Against Cruel Sports, whose approach to "peaceful" protest seems be exactly the kind of behaviour that ASBOs were created to deal with.  This would obviously be immensely cheering in terms of rubbing their noses in it, but it wouldn't be much of a victory for liberal England.

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