An animal rights activist who took to the streets the day after the Bataclan terror attacks dressed in “paramilitary clothing” was told he had offended “heightened sensitivities” by a sheriff.
Kevin Newell avoided a jail term over two incidents in November last year.
Newell and a group of animal rights activists donned camouflage trousers and jackets as well as balaclavas before going out on the roads of Fife the day after the Paris atrocities.
A sheriff told Newell there were “heightened sensitivities” that would have left members of the public in fear when they saw Newell.
Police said Newell had followed the hunt pack and behaved in an “intimidating” manner. A trial at Dundee Sheriff Court heard on November 14 and November 21 Newell and other saboteurs had intercepted vehicles heading to hunts in north east Fife. On both occasions they were dressed in what hunt supporters described as “paramilitary” clothing with their faces covered by snoods and balaclavas.
Newell, 33, of Sir William Wallace Wynd, Aberdeen, was found guilty after trial of two offences of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner committed on November 15 and November 21.
Sheriff George Way imposed a community payback order with 90 hours unpaid work. He said: “This was a time of heightened sensitivites given the Bataclan attacks. People would have seen him and wouldn’t have known what was going on.”
Detective Inspector Colin Robson, Police Scotland, said: “We police hunts in Fife to ensure the safety of everyone participating in or observing the events, and to ensure they take place legally. This applies equally to those who oppose hunting and those in the pack taking part. There is a right to peacefully and lawfully protest in a public place and a procedure for legally hunting with dogs. In this case, Newell’s behaviour was unacceptable and it should send a clear message to anyone intending to disrupt a hunt in this way that we will take action.”