Dublin men to plead not guilty to unlawful badger hunt

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
The three men accused of engaging in an unlawful badger hunt
The three men accused of engaging in an unlawful badger hunt

THREE Dublin men are pleading not guilty to using an electronic device, shovels and tracking dogs during an alleged unlawful badger hunt.

Gavin O'Dowd of Lambay Drive, Ballybrack, along with Dean and Gavin Fitzpatrick both of Coolevin, Ballybrack appeared at Dublin District Court where their case was listed for a plea to be entered.
They did not address the court but their solicitor told Judge John O'Neill that a hearing date was required, an indication the allegations will be contested. 
Judge O'Neill ordered that their trial which will take place later this month; he also heard it is expected to last about an hour and involve hearing evidence from two witnesses.
The young men each face prosecution on three charges under the Wildlife Act.
Earlier a discovery order was made for the prosecution to provide disclosure of evidence to the defence.
The three men are being prosecuted by the office the Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in connection with an alleged unlawful badger hunt in the Cabinteely area in Co. Dublin on October 22nd last year. 
The first two charges state it is alleged they hunted a badger which is a protected wild animal and this was not in accordance with any licence of permission given and that they “wilfully interfered with” a badger's breeding or resting place during the incident.
In the third count it is claimed they were not entitled to be at the named location and were not the owners of occupiers of the place and that they had spades and shovels as well as an electronic device “emitting sounds for tracking dogs hunting underground capable of being used for hunting wild animals”.
Legal aid has been granted.