Monday 1 March 2010

Bryan Griffiths trial begins

This photo of Griffiths at the controls appears on the Daily Mail website
Note how the propeller blades become an almost invisible blur when rotating at speed

The trial begins today (1 March) at Birmingham Crown Court of Bryan Griffiths, charged with killing a hunt supporter who died after being struck by the propeller blades of a gyrocopter. Griffiths denies the manslaughter of Warwickshire Hunt member Trevor Morse on 9 March last year. Previous posts here, here and here.

On Monday (1 March) the jury was sworn in, and Griffiths pleaded not guilty to "manslaughter by gross negligence" - by driving towards Trevor Morse "at speed a gyrocopter with an unguarded revolving rear propeller at a time when it was unsafe to do so". More details in the Birmingham Post here. The trial resumes today.
Chloe Finch of the Countryside Alliance told Horse & Hound: "We expect both Peter Bunce of the POWA [Protect Our Wild Animals campaign] who filmed the whole incident and convicted animal rights extremist John Curtin, who was Griffiths' co-pilot, to appear as witnesses." Also expected in court are Warwickshire master Antony Spencer and the female hunt supporter who was with Trevor when he was killed. Police are not planning to release the video filmed by Bunce.

For more recent updates on this case, use the Bryan Griffiths tag.


Meconopsis said...

John Curtin must be a very worried man now that his name is out in the open. Pitty he is not sitting in the dock as well.

Anonymous said...

Kinda simple really, Darwinism says "stay away from the spinny bit."

Not guilty!

Vicky said...

Humanism say's 'dont' drive your helicoper at a human being even if he is stupid enough to stand in front of it'


Obviously you think this guy deserved to die because he supported a legal hunt; chasing foxes with dogs was banned- gathering in the counryside to follow trails on horseback, flushing foxes to the gun or hawk with 2 dogs and digging foxes from earths to be shot where they are causing livestock damage were not banned. You don't even have the balls to name yourself. Very sad.

Sooty said...

Vicky lots of sense in what you say just think the guy on gyro assumed guy in front of him would get out of way.reasonable assumtion but believe me some huntsmen can be really intimidating but have no experience of followers.One M O H when on my land where he should not have been had the cheek to tell me what he was going to do until I caught hold of his horse and told him the rules.You would not believe how some M O H try bullying.

Vicky said...

Brave grabbing hold of the horse! I find most people 'in charge' of things can come across as intimidating, rude and bullying at times. I've come across scary leaders of ramblers groups, scary birdwatchers as well as scary huntsmen!!!! I just don't think people ever like being told they are in the wrong.

Any more news on the trial James?

bobbyb said...

having sat through the monday and tuesday my inclination is that the verdict will be not guilty as the Prosecution has now stated that Morse was acting illegally in trying to stop the Giro taking off, I also cannot understand why the Hunts object to having Monitors, because if they are Hunting within the Law then they have nothing to worry about and Having People watching them should not worry them at all, just treat them like followers or just ignore them and let them get on with it. Also the Giro was not flying low or frightening animals and that the flight recorder showed he never went lower than 1000ft, stated by the Police in Court and the only comment from Ms Green Senior Joint Master was that it was annoying when she was informed that a Police Report contradicted her Statement of Low Flying and disturbing of Animals. Not Guilty.

Anonymous said...

Very sad but the person most responsible for Mr Morse's death was Mr Morse himself.

He put himself, his partner and, indeed, the pilot and passenger in an inherently dangerous situation - and that's not to mention the illegality of what he was trying to do.

An independent witness has told the court how he found Mr Morse's manner as threatenin - so it is understandable that Mr Griffith's would, quite lawfully, want to remove himself from the situation.

It can only be, Not Guilty.

James Marchington said...

Anon, what a lot of pseudo-legal drivel, none of which justifies running down a human being. The jury will decide, this is not X Factor.

Meconopsis said...

These folk that hide behind false names ! Keyboard heroes. I don't mind if people outside the country scene find out who I am.

Monitors a nice fancy name the antis think is acceptable to the general public whom don't give a hoot how foxes or other vermin are killed.

These Monitors are of the ilk that dig people from their graves, threaten children etc whilst they go about their LAWFUL business I.e. killing foxes damaging livestock of hunting with a pack following a trail.

Animal Aid LASC and POWA are made up of the same people their names come up time and time again. I doubt if combined they have a membership of 30,000 people. Minorities dictating the majority !!!!

Anonymous said...

James - psuedo legal!?? Sorry, just common sense.

Simple rule I always employ (especially on myself) - before you can have any complaint about anything; make sure you have done everything reasonable yourself first to negate the complaint.

If I stood in any road to make any form of (justified) complaint and got injured, be it by a speeding or drunken motorist even, it is MY fault - because I didn't do everything reasonable to prevent myself getting injured; because roads are a dangerous place!

If I stood in a runway... you get the gist!

Griffiths 25% guilty, Morse 75% guilty = not guilty verdict for Griffiths.

James Marchington said...

Anon, Trevor Morse is not on trial. He is dead. From what I've heard of the evidence, it would appear that Griffiths revved up the engine and drove the gyro forward, regardless of the fact that there was a human being standing in front of it. The gyro wasn't driving itself; he could have chosen to switch off the engine. To my simple mind, the only possible defence is that he feared for his life (which seems to be the line his defence team are taking). However, the danger to his life was not immediate and present, it was how he imagined events might unfold. I would be surprised if the jury saw that as sufficient justification for running a man down, but they are hearing the whole evidence and I trust they will come to the right decision.

Anonymous said...


I agree that his defence lies in that he feared for his safety - and I would add (maybe wrongly, but the judge will advise the jury) that he would only have to show that he had 'reasonable' cause to fear for his safety.

I recount, again, that an independent witness has told the court that he found Mr Morse's manner "threatening". It is quite reasonable to infer (as was actually the case) that further members of the hunt were on the way; and this does, to my mind, give support to Mr Griffiths position.

It is irrelevant to conjecturise about what may or may not have taken place later (and it probably would have been no more than very cross words) because Mr Griffiths does not have to 'prove' he would definately have been harmed; just that he had a reasonable fear.

Mr Griffiths clearly didn't want to hit Mr Morse - it not only could have been extremely dangerous to himself and his passenger, but it would very certainly incapacitate his machine when he had just injured/killed a supporter, with further supporters on the way! However, again, given that he had a 'reasonable' fear, he would only have to show he was not completely negligent about Mr Morse's safety.

He does not have to prove he was completely sure about his safety because his 'reasonable' fear gives him some leeway on this - but the jury will have to balance this against the level of care he owed to Mr Morse.

bobbyb said...

James I know its your blog but one needs to know a bit about aircraft, to move an aircraft needs to rev high to move, its wheels are not driven and the rear motor is what drives it forward and it takes a lot of force to move initially so there is no way the Giro was moving at speed, possibly 2-3mph at the most, especially in the time stated in court, this can be seen from the video. The Giro needs at least 20yds to take off with its rotor moving to give lift, watch any aircraft take off and you will see this is so, they cannot move at speed while taxiing.
Mr Fox... if the Hunts are Doing it legally again why worry about them, even if they are the same as you state.

Sooty said...

Hi James not taking sides as a person has lost their life but there are by what I read some intimidation towards the gyro man,seems joint master had got together a bunch and decided if possible to drive a truck in front of gyro if possible at refuelling.Also gryo mans details appear to have been found in vehicle I think belonging to Morse,I am sure it was to put gryo man on xmas card list.My conclusion is both sides need to learn tolerance as I dislike hunting but would not go to extreme lengths.Feel sure what he did was awful but for sure the hunt had him in their sights unless what I read from newspaper reports is up the creek.

James Marchington said...

I've no real axe to grind either way - I'm not a foxhunter. I don't doubt the hunt were keeping an eye on these people, as you would if someone followed you about all the time videoing you and trying to catch you crossing the line. I know I'd get cheesed off eventually and want to go and have words with them.

I'm no lawyer, but I'd be surprised if 'reasonable fear' was an acceptable reason for running someone down. Turning it around, imagine a hunt supporter blocked in a car park by an anti. The anti might call up his chums to attack the guy, does that make it ok for the hunt supporter to drive at the anti, risking killing him? I'd guess not. No doubt the judge will direct the jury on the legal issues.

James Marchington said...

Sooty, you're so right. Both sides get very fired up and all sense of perspective goes out the window.

I can't think of any other activity where a gang of vigilantes follow and harass participants on the grounds they might break the law.

Meconopsis said...

James they are hunt Sabs they are few in number as this case will confirm.

We in Scotland hunt within the laws and fox numbers shot whilst hunting has gone up by over 1000% this year our hunt has killed 465 foxes so far in the old days less than 40 or so would have been killed by the old way.

Shooting and hunt folk noew work together for a purpose to kill foxes before they killed our lambs.
The ban brought shooting folk and hunters.

bobbyb said...

Was in court today to hear Judges summing up and self defense was part of her oration, the jury had five questions to consider, a sort of flow chart, 1, if no, Not guilty, if yes goto 2, and again till last one and if that no, not guilty or yes guilty, Jury out at 14:15, sent home 16:15.
As for the fear Bryan did impart to the independent witnesses was that he was shot at and was a bit worried when he saw the landrover enter the airfield all this before the incident and the prosecution accept now that Bryan was shot at, as the Police did a reconstruction with their Helicopter and proved that what Bryan said he saw was right, I don't think they did it for Bryan's benefit. As for Violence on Hunts, in my experiance it has always come from the Hunt never the other way round, if anyone can prove it, by showing prosecutions please do, whereas Hunt Supporters have been Prosecuted, also I have seen foxes run through a large flock of sheep and the sheep haven't lifted their heads, but as soon as they hear the dogs, they scatter, so what harms sheep more dogs or foxes and if it wasn't for the sports shooters supporting the hunts the hunts will die.

bobbyb said...

Verdict NOT GUILTY at 4:30pm today