Ollie Finegan

GUILTY: Ollie Finnegan convicted of illegal hunting three times in less than a year

Ex-Cheshire huntsman Ollie Finnegan was due to stand trial this week, charged with two counts of illegal hunting. He didn’t show up to court, and was found guilty in his absence.

Finnegan was charged after being caught illegally fox hunting at a meet that took place at Chorley Green on 22 November 2022. The second charge related to an incident a few days later, on 26 November, at Marbury.

No legal representative showed up to court for Finnegan. The disgraced hunter didn’t show up for his plea hearing back in June, either, seemingly unconcerned by the charges.

Community Behaviour Order

Cheshire Against Blood Sports (CABS) told Protect the Wild that Finnegan was fined the maximum £1,000 for each charge, plus £800 costs and £150 surcharge, to be paid within 28 days. He was also issued with a Community Behaviour Order (CBO) previously known as an ASBO. Courts issue CBOs to people in order to tackle antisocial behaviour in “the most serious and persistent offenders” (see our Protectors of the Wild page > Antisocial behaviour and the Law).

CABS told us that the conditions of the CBO relate to his role in hunting. The conditions are that he must:

  • Trail hunt with no more than ten hounds
  • Provide a plan of the trail before the meet, and at any time if the police request
  • Make no trails in wooded areas
  • Ensure hounds are with him at all times
  • Ensure that hounds are under control
  • Show written permission of using land owners’ land, and not enter private land without permission.


Third conviction

Finnegan is no longer in England, and seemingly now lives in Ireland. It is likely that he moved after being humiliated in the mainstream media back in December 2022. That time he made news headlines after he pleaded guilty to another charge of illegally hunting with dogs. He had no choice but to enter the plea after police seized his phone and found WhatsApp messages incriminating him. He was working for the Quorn Hunt at the time.

One of the most damning messages said:

“Only found a brace [of foxes]. First one went to ground, The second went 5 fields to a real thick cover which we weren’t aloud [sic] in and had to stop [the hounds].”

Police found lots of other messages on his phone, a number of which dated back to other hunting meets.

These two new guilty verdicts mean that Finnegan has been convicted under the Hunting Act three times in less than a year. Hunting already has a terrible reputation, but no doubt he knows that no hunt in England would touch him with a barge pole.

The most disgraced hunter around

Finnegan is, surely, the most disgraced huntsman we have seen for a long time.

On top of these three convictions, he was previously charged under the Hunting Act two other times. He was cleared of illegal hunting with the Quorn Hunt in August 2021. Back then he, along with whipper-in Rhys Matcham, insisted the hunt had laid an artificial scent for hounds to follow. And then back in 2019, when he was whipper-in for the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt, Finnegan pleaded not guilty to illegal hunting, despite League Against Cruel Sports footage incriminating him and five others. The case against him was dismissed after two of the hunt members pleaded guilty.

Cheshire Hunt also to blame

CABS released a statement after Finnegan’s conviction. The group said:

“The Cheshire Hunt hired Ollie Finnegan knowing he had been charged with illegal hunting and had an upcoming court date. When Ollie Finnegan pleaded guilty to this charge, the Cheshire Hunt continued to employ him, which resulted in the hunting and deaths of many more foxes, for which we hope more charges will be issued. The Cheshire Hunt, the field riders, the terrier men, the hunt support, and indeed the land owners, must also share responsibility for this guilty verdict. To attempt to distance themselves should be treated with ridicule and contempt.”

CABS continued:

“While this verdict will not bring back the foxes that brutally lost their lives, we hope that the fact a huntsman has been found guilty three times in less than a year will be a catalyst for change.”



Support CABS

Finnegan’s convictions wouldn’t have been possible without people on the ground, monitoring, sabbing and filming illegal hunting. CAB’s work is essential in preventing foxes from being killed, and the group’s footage ensures that men like Finnegan are charged.

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Featured image via Cheshire Against Blood Sports