A former livestock farmer denied claims he was ‘making this up as we go along’ – as he tried to convince a court he was unaware of his father’s rule-breaking.

Martin Hall, 39, said he had repeatedly told Oxfordshire County Council representatives that he was not involved in the running of KC Hall and Sons, based at Cowpastures Farm in Piddington, near Bicester, as officers from the Trading Standards department probed alleged breaches of cattle and pig regulations.

Prosecuting, Michael Forster told Oxford Crown Court on Thursday (February 16) that had come as a surprise to the council officers, who it was claimed had been ‘led to believe’ he and his father Kevin were operating together. He suggested Hall was ‘making it up’ and ‘trying to escape what he had led the council to believe’.

Hall stuck to his guns, telling the judge and magistrates hearing his appeal: “I have told them umpteen times I am nothing to do with KC Hall and Sons.”

Hall, of Upper Heyford, was found guilty last year of 11 offences, including illegally moving cattle to 14 different counties, without conducting pre-movement bovine tuberculosis tests, and failing to report cattle movements within three days. He failed to keep records of pig movements and was also convicted of moving livestock without being an authorised transporter.

He continues to deny wrongdoing, appealing both his convictions and his sentence to the crown court.

Setting out his client’s position at the outset of the two-day appeal hearing, defence barrister Richard Davies said it was ‘not correct’ that Martin Hall had been trading as KC Hall and Sons but, if he gave the impression he was involved in running the business, ‘the conduct is effectively a favour to his father rather than him trading as this business’.

The appellant took issue with the council officers’ evidence, the court heard, including claims that he had requested particular livestock forms from them or that he had only once said he was ‘nothing to do with’ his father’s business.

He also disagreed with the statement of an auctioneer at the Thame cattle market, who claimed to have seen him buying cattle for KC Hall and Sons on numerous occasions in 2020 and early 2021.

Hall produced an employment contract with a haulage and road mending firm, Hazel and Jefferies, that purported to show he was employed by the company from March 26, 2019 until April 2020. The period over which the council claims Hall committed the various livestock offences is January 2020 until March the following year.

Quizzing his client, who spent the best part of Thursday afternoon in the witness box, defence brief Mr Davies asked: “Are you lying about this matter?” No, he replied.

“Are you trying to duck and weave the various bits of evidence to distance yourself from KC Hall and Sons?” Again, he replied: “No.”

Mr Davies asked: “During this charge period, July 2020 to February 2021, have you had anything – formally – to do with KC Hall and Sons?” No, he said.

“Are you, from the wording of the charges, trading as KC Hall and Sons?” He replied: “No.”

Opening the case for the council on Thursday, Mr Forster said: “The only issue is whether the defendant was involved or not. They are strict liability offences; if he wasn’t involved or you’re not sure he was involved in the running of the business then he’s not guilty. If you’re sure he was involved in the running of the business he’s guilty.”

Hall’s father, Kevin, admitted 11 charges last August and was sentenced in September.

The appeal continues.