A jury has been told to leave emotion and opinion about fox hunting to one side when considering whether a hunt supporter is guilty of violence.

Wayne Spencer, 39, a pig farmer from Oakhurst Lane, Billingshurst, is accused of causing serious head injuries to hunt saboteurs Carole Tibbits and Simon Clear on the final day of legal fox hunting last year.

The attacks are alleged to have happened during violent and chaotic clashes between the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Petworth hunt and saboteurs from Bognor-based West Sussex Wildlife Protection Group on February 17, 2005.

The day was a "red letter day" for the hunt saboteurs according to Judge Anthony Scott-Gall and passions ran extremely high - demonstrated by video evidence shown in court revealing a number of minor scuffles and abuse between the groups.

Mr Clear, who was trying to disrupt the hunt, was hit around the head and body as he lay in a ditch at Pheasant Copse, Petworth Park, the court has heard.

Mrs Tibbits also received a broken nose and a deep cut above her eyebrow and needed surgery at Worthing Hospital after receiving a "headbutt, kicks and punches".

Crucially, the video evidence did not capture closely Mr Clear being hurt and Mr Spencer denies one charge of ABH and one of unlawful wounding, claiming another man or a horse hoof caused the injuries.

Yesterday, in the final day of the trial, Judge Anthony Scott- Gall ruled that Mr Spencer could be convicted on the lesser charge of assault by beating after admitting kicking Mr Clear on the legs.

But the judge warned the jury to leave their own opinions about fox hunting outside the jury room door.

Judge Scott-Gall said: "February 17 was a momentous day for all those involved in hunting.

Feelings on both sides of the debate run high but you must put that out of your mind."

Lawyers on both sides yesterday summed up their cases.

Defending barrister Rossano Scamardella told the jury it was unlikely they could prove conclusively it was Spencer who caused the 11 injuries to Simon Clear's head and body or Carole Tibbits' injuries.

Mr Scamardella called for a "common sense" verdict in the case.

During the case summing up, he and Judge Scott-Gall also called into question the role of an ITN camera crew who had attended the hunt with the saboteurs and claimed they may have provoked some of the violence.

Mr Scamardella said the decision for the saboteurs to go to Petworth Park, where the hunt had already arrived, was heavily influenced by ITN.

He said: "It was designed to rev up a situation which was already dying down."

Judge Scott-Gall said the crews might have gone there and urged the saboteurs to "put on a show".

After one hour and 15 minutes of deliberation the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict and will continue this morning.