More than a year after agreeing to pay thousands of pounds in damages for his part in the civil assault of two women, fox hunting advocate Otis Ferry has yet to give his victims a penny – even after bailiffs allegedly visited his house in an attempt to recover the money.
John Deustch, who was hunting with Otis Ferry when the incident occurred, has also not paid the victims any money. Brentford County Court ordered Deutsch to pay £17,000 in damages to Susan Grima and £14,000 to Helen Ghalmi, with a reported contribution of £16,000 to come from Mr Ferry, along with legal costs estimated in the thousands, in March last year.
The civil court judge found them guilty of assault and gave them a fortnight to pay the two women, who were monitoring a meeting in November 2007 of the Heythrop Hunt, based in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, when the incident occurred. According to a witness account of the incident, accepted by Judge Powles, Ms Ghalmi was driving her car with Ms Grima as a passenger when they passed two horse riders – one of whom was Mr Ferry, who was talking on his mobile phone. A car driven by Mr Deutsch pulled up behind them and Ms Ghalmi pulled off the road to let it pass. But Mr Deutsch got out of his car, shouted abuse at the two women and smashed the side-window next to Ms Grima.
At that point, Mr Ferry joined in, snatching Mrs Ghalmi’s video-camera. He rode off with the device and subsequently deleted the footage it had captured, according to witness statements.
The deadline for the payment was more than a year ago, but neither the victims or their solicitors, Howe & Co, has received any money.
“I find it shocking that Mr Ferry has still to make a single payment. To say I feel disgusted but unsurprised by his behaviour would be an understatement…” Ms Ghalmi told The Independent.
Mr Deutsch declined to comment, while Mr Ferry and his solicitor did not reply to requests to comment.
Ms Galmi and Ms Grima brought their civil claim against Mr Deutsch and Mr Ferry because they were dissatisfied with the outcome of a criminal case brought in relation to the same incident by the Crown Prosecution Service. In the criminal case, Mr Ferry and Mr Deutsch pleaded guilty to a public order offence of affray and paid a £350 fine, while the more serious charges of assault and battery were dropped.
Mr Ferry, the son of Roxy Music singer Bryan, is a prominent figure in the fox hunting world. He is a pro-hunt activist and Joint Master of the South Shropshire Hunt who famously disrupted a debate on fox hunting in Parliament in 2004.
He also fronts Vote-OK, a pro-hunting lobby group whose members are campaigning on behalf of several Conservative candidates on the understanding they will vote to repeal the Hunting Act if the Tories win the General Election. It is understood that Mr Ferry was out when the bailiffs called at his home.
The Prime Minister has promised to hold a parliamentary vote to repeal the Hunting Act, brought in by Labour in 2005. On Saturday last week Cameron and 107 members of the Heythrop Hunt campaigned for Nicola Blackwood, who is defending her Oxford West and Abingdon seat.Reuse content