Professor Stephen Harris is an opponent of hunting and was serving as an expert witness in the prosecution of a huntsman on trial in the UK for illegally hunting the fox with dogs. Harris's testimony was thrown out, however, after he was seen being kissed by another witness. That witness was known to be a veteran anti-hunting campaigner, and the cozy relationship between the two eloquently refuted Harris’s supposed role as an independent witness.
Professor Harris argued that he was kissed before he could stop the kisser. But Wills’ defense counsel, Stephen Welford, argued that the kissee could no longer be regarded as an independent witness in the case, given his demonstrably close relationship with the woman, another prosecution witness.
District Judge Tim Daber agreed, saying, “The allegation of bias specific to this particular case is something that in my view the court cannot ignore. A reasonable observer would consider him to be partisan. However unbiased he may be, this court must exclude Professor Harris’s evidence.”
Longtime huntsman Mick Wills of the Grafton Foxhounds (UK) was found not guilty.
Professor Harris’ friends too often appear to interfere with his testimony. Several years earlier, another prosecution brought privately by the League Against Cruel Sport (LACS) against six members of the Lamerton Hunt (UK) collapsed when the court learned that Professor Harris was a friend of Paul Tilsley, head of investigations for the LACS.
Click for the complete story by Patrick Sawer, senior news reporter for The Telegraph. We don’t know if the article was filed under Court Beat or the Gossip Column, but the link will take you there.
Posted July 11, 2019