A NORTH Cotswold huntsman who is being prosecuted for hunting foxes since the ban, today denied the charges against him.

Julian Barnfield, 44, of Heythrop Kennels, Chipping Norton did not attend today's hearing at Cheltenham Magistrates Court but entered the not guilty pleas through his solicitor - Tim Hayden.

The case was adjourned for a pre-trial review to take place and after a judicial review at the High Court in London concerning points of law that potentially relate to the case.

Barnfield pleaded not guilty to three charges of breaking the ban on hunting for foxes with dogs in Gloucestershire.

The first relates to November 17, last year at Cold Aston, Cheltenham. The second is on January 23 this year at Adlestrop, and the third on February 7 this year at Barrington.

Prosecuting, William Llewellyn, said that under normal circumstances a date would now be set for trial.

But he said Mr Barnfield also faced a further similar matter at Witney Magistrates Court, and that matter was to be transferred and incorporated into this case.

He said the case was similar and all the witnesses for the trial were the same.

Mr Llewellyn said that there was also a Judicial Review in process at the High Court following the prosecution of Tony Wright at Barnstaple Magistrates Court in 2005 in relation to a hunting matter.

That prosecution was appealed at Exeter Crown Court and quashed, said Mr Llewellyn, and a Judicial Review had been sought.

The Magistrates heard today that two points of law were under scrutiny at the High Court in relation to the Barnstaple case - notably concerning what the legal definition of hunting was.

The prosecutor said until those points of law had been resolved, it would not be prudent to proceed with this case and therefore asked for a pre-trial review on November 3 this year.

The justices agreed and the chairwoman of the bench said the case would be adjourned until November 3 at 2pm back at Cheltenham Magistrates Court.

The case of Julian Barnfield is the first time a huntsman from the West Country has been prosecuted and only the second time in Britain that such a case has been brought - the first was a low key case in north Wales