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BBC ordered to explain filming of raid on deer hunter's home

THE BBC has been questioned by a judge over the filming of a police raid at the home of an illegal deer hunter.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC demanded a written explanation of how the BBC came to be present during a search of Philip Cross’s address in South Wales. Cross, 37, was convicted in 2016 of illegally killing a deer at night along with Daniel Ravenscroft, 39, a former member of the Household Cavalry. Both men protested they were innocent, but Judge Lawrie, sitting with two magistrates, upheld the convictions. At Gloucester Crown Court Judge Lawrie expressed his concern that a BBC camera crew had attended when a search warrant was executed at Cross’s address.

Drawing parallels with the case of Sir Cliff Richard, the judge said: “We are not quite in rock star territory.” He said it was important that justice was a “proper process” and not “some form of entertainment”. Cross also failed to overturn a conviction for causing unnecessary suffering to a dog after he did not get follow-up treatment for a lurcher named Judge, which had a fractured leg. He was banned from owning animals for five years.

After imposing six-week jail terms suspended for 12 months on both men, the judge said of their offences against the Deer Act: “It is cruel, barbaric, inappropriate and against the law.” The case was part of a wider prosecution by the RSPCA, in which ringleader Graham Coombes, 42 of Bovey Tracy, Devon, was jailed for 20 weeks for offences against animals. As well as Coombes, Ravenscroft and Cross, eight other men were prosecuted. “What’s been going on here … is barbaric,” said the judge. “To give it the title ‘sport’ is offensive.” Both men were ordered to pay £1,500 in costs for bringing the failed appeals. A BBC spokesman said: “We have had no contact from the court about this matter, but if we do we will look into it and respond.”  The Daily Telegraph, July 31 2018