On Boxing day last year the lawyer and Remain-supporting campaigner, Jolyon Maugham, made probably the most unwise decision of his life. He decided, after having an altercation with an animal in his garden that morning, to recount his experience on social media.
At 8am, the campaigner and QC revealed that:
'Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How's your Boxing day going?'
In subsequent messages, Maugham explained that the unlucky fox had become trapped in his chicken coop and, to complete the picture, that he had been wearing his wife's kimono as he dispatched the desperate animal.
Maugham may have thought this was an amusing joke or colourful anecdote, but animal lovers around the world were rather less impressed – and Maugham's FBPE-supporting, animal-loving followers were distraught that a hero of the Remainer revolution could have behaved so callously towards a wild animal. The story even managed to cross the Atlantic, with the New York Post reporting on the 'Prominent UK lawyer under fire for saying he killed fox with baseball bat'
Rather more seriously the RSPCA promised to investigate the fox-killing, and said they would consider prosecuting Maugham if necessary. Today though, the lawyer can at least breath a sigh of relief that his injudicious decision to share his fox-murdering won't see him locked up. Today, the RSPCA announced that they had ended their investigation into the incident, and judged that there was not a realistic chance of conviction. Clearly concerned though that this might set a precedent, the agency did confirm that 'the RSPCA does not condone the killing of healthy foxes'.
Maugham's legal ordeal is now over. But will he ever be able to shrug off his worldwide reputation as a fox-beater? Mr S is not so sure...