Thursday, July 26, 2007

And so to the High Court...

Yesterday justice and truth won the day.At the case management meeting at Teesside combined court for Jimmy Willis' hearing on August 31st, which would give Jimmy Willis,the camper on Coatham Common,his chance to be heard,the judge decided that it wasnt as black and white as was at first anticipated,and has sent it up to the chancery court before a chancery judge in Newcastle.

Jimmy's defence against the application to have him removed from the land, was that he had always used the land for recreational purposes in the past,even camping with his children when they were younger and no one had ever prevented him from doing this, so why now? His defence was also that having seen the covenants that protect the land,covenants that the council have admitted are there,they give him the right to use the land for recreational purposes.

I told the judge that the only reason for the fences being errected around the common was that they wished to have some legal challenge to our second village green application and that is why Jimmy camping on the land,and people using the land. is now a bone of contention where it never has been before.I told the judge that in short,the council were trying desperately to stop people using the land so as to give themselves some chance at the village green public hearing,which means,now that the law that defeated us in 2006 has changed and the signs that were errected by the council in 2003, no longer mean a thing,that there is a strong possibility that the land could now be registered as a village green, after we proved without doubt at the last village green inquiry that the land had been used for recreational purposes for many, many years.

The council had omitted to put the Jugdes requests from the last hearing last month in the actual notices.The judge could not understand why,when the council knew the identity of Jimmy Willis,had they applied to have person/persons unknown removed from the land? The councils barrister conceded that he should be named on the next notice but then argued why other people should be able to make objections against the council applying for a possesion order of the land.
We informed him that we are the persons unknown that the council referred to in the application.Indeed,the judge herself pointed out to the councils barrister, that on the notices that were errected on the fences when they first went up,the council had stated that the public were prohibited from using the land.THE PUBLIC being prohibited from using the land meant that the public had the right to object,the public were the persons unknown.

Because there was far more to this than just the council applying for a possesion order to have Jimmy removed from the land,the judge decided to send it all up to the chancery court in Newcastle for a chancery judge to hear the case.The councils barrister did not want this.The council do not want the issue of the covenants that protect that land,covenants that they have admitted to, being heard in a high court.But sadly for them,now they are.When it was obvious that the sign that the council errected on the fences when they first went up gave the public the right to object, because it was the public that had been prevented from using the land,the judge remarked that the council "had brought it all upon themselves".

So now its up to Newcastle we all go.Submissions and applications have to be into the court in Newcastle by August 29 and a case management meeting will be held in the court up in Newcastle sometime in mid September.It will be decided then when the hearing will take place I believe.

This is the second time that the councils barristers have been defeated in court by myself and other local people who have spoken the truth to the judge.Yesterday we even told the judge how the council have not only fenced the whole area off,they are watching it 24 hours a day with cctv cameras and having community wardens and the police patrol it too! I dont think from her expression that she could believe what we were telling her,infact she said to the councils barrister "can you get a flavour why these people are here now?".

When we first went to court a few weeks ago about this,the councils barrister just thought that the application for possesion would be made and granted,Jim would be removed and that would be that.Can you actually believe,that when we went to the court on that morning,the councils barrister informed us that we couldnt come in to make our plea to the judge! When we told him we were going into the court and he couldnt stop us,he then demanded to know what we were going to say!

We weren't phased then and the judge, after kindly giving us permission to say what we wanted,decided that everyone had a right to be heard in a British court of law and Jimmy Willis was no exception,and he had that right too.

In a way I actually felt sorry for the two barristers who were asked to represent the council because they had been totally misinformed by the council and not given the correct information,but when I think about it in the tribunal case of RCBC v Williams and others the council didnt tell the truth or give the full facts to the solicitor/barrister who represented them on that occasion either.With this record for leaving their legal people in embarrassing situations,I'd be surprised if they could find anyone to represent them! The first barrister a few weeks ago thought the land being occupied by Jimmy was the Stray! The second yesterday thought that the covenants that are on the land said that the land was to be kept as a stray and point of access,when in reality they clearly state that the land is to be kept as a stray and open space for recreational purposes.

I shook the hand of,and comiserated with,a very embarrassed council barrister and we left the court jubilant that justice had been done.

So now we are preparing for the next round in Newcastle.As Im sat here now,in my mind I can see those misleading Lib/dem focus newsletters that stated the covenants dont matter.I can hear Vera Moody's monotone,droning voice stating that the covenants are there,the council have always known this, but they didnt say anything to anyone because they didnt think that they mattered so why say anything?

Mr Abbott,Mrs Moody,George Dunning and Colin Moore,I suggest you think again.Because yesterday a judge deceided that they do.You dont have to think again though do you Colin because you ALREADY KNOW that the covenants mater.Thats why you kept the barristers opinion,that publicly funded document, a document commissioned for the public,secret from the public and the whole council.

Brought to you by your court correspondent Chris Mcglade.

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