A man found guilty at the end of the longest animal rights trial in legal history has launched an appeal, claiming the judge should not have heard the case because of his interest in blood sports.
Sean Kirtley, 42, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for his part in a prolonged campaign against Sequani Ltd by Judge Peter Ross at Coventry Crown Court earlier this year.
The case, which has been unreported until now, has become a cause célèbre among anti-vivisection campaigners after the activist became the first person to stand trial accused of conspiring to interfere with an animal research establishment under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.
In addition to the custodial sentence, he received a five-year antisocial behaviour order, which will come into effect on his release. But Kirtley's supporters claim it was impossible for him to receive a fair trial after the judge disclosed in a letter to lawyers that "one of my hobbies is game shooting".