Judge Blasts Council

Judge blasts Council for ‘nonsense’ garden case

“Unwise prosecution is an appalling waste of money”

A CROWN court judge has slammed Thanet council for an “appalling waste of public money” after prosecuting a Ramsgate man for breaching an enforcement notice over unauthorised development in his garden.

Judge Timothy Nash described the case as a nonsense and refused to fine Bernard Baldwin because it had cost him enough already.

He added that if there was a way he could order the council to pay Baldwin’s costs, he would.

The judge made his comments as he sentenced 64-year-old Bald­win who had admitted two offences relating to land at Pegwell Road, Ramsgate.

Sentence had, in fact, been brought forward because Bald­win is due to go into hospital for major surgery and Judge Nash commented that he did not want to add to Baldwin’s anxieties.

He said: “When the case was opened to me it passed through my mind that those people who seek to complain about the bureaucracy and red tape in Brussels, should look no further than Thanet District Council’s plan­ning authority.”

He added that ironically one of the photos used as an exhibit in the case showed two donkeys looking over a fence. “It is sometimes said the law is an ass, I say no more,” he said.

“You are in the dock because some well-intending person made a complaint to the council and the council then embarked on a course which wisdom and hindsight, aided by even the vaguest objectivity, would have revealed to them was unwise. “I hesitate to think what this case has cost the taxpayers of Thanet.”

“It is all an appalling waste of public and private money. All because your paddock was a matter of feet too high at one end and five feet or so high at the other. This case is a nonsense.”

“I have to deal with you in a way that is sensible and fair. Your counsel says I should fine you. No, I am not going to do that. You have paid enough of a price already. I could conditionally discharge you, I am not going to do that either because that means you are a hostage to any action the council may hereafter take. You have heard what Thanet District Council is asking by way of costs, you are not paying costs to anybody.”

He then wished Baldwin well saying he hoped the news from his surgery was good.

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Conspiracy

The Director of the Serious Fraud Squad has stated:

“When two or more people agree to deprive a person of something that belongs to him, or in the alternative ignore his proper rights, the law allows a charge of conspiracy to defraud based on dishonesty and suppression of evidence and a custodial sentence would follow”

A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to do something illegal, or to do something legal by illegal means. It is not even necessary to establish that the act they contemplated was criminal.

There are two categories of conspiracy which are criminal even though the agreed object would not be criminal if done by one person alone.

  1. Conspiracy to commit a civil wrong.
  2. Conspiracy to commit an act which is neither a crime nor a civil wrong, but which can be calculated to ‘injure the public’.

The penalties for conspiracy are a fine or imprisonment. There is no limit. A court can pass a heavier sentence for conspiracy to commit an offence than for the offence itself.

The fact that a person doesn’t have to commit an offence or break a law before he can be charged with conspiracy has not been overlooked by the police.

The statutory offence of criminal conspiracy:The Criminal Law Act 1977 redefined conspiracy and put it on a statutory footing. The offence-creating provision is section 1(1). So far as material for present purposes section 1(1), as substituted by the Criminal Attempts Act 1981, provides:

‘…if a person agrees with any other person or persons that a course of conduct shall be pursued which, if the agreement is carried out in accordance with their intentions … (a) will necessarily amount to or involve the commission of any offence or offences by one or more of the parties to the agreement …he is guilty of conspiracy to commit the offence or offences in question.’

The offence therefore lies in making an agreement. Implicitly, the subsection requires also that the parties intend to carry out their agreement. The offence is complete at that stage. The offence is complete even if the parties do not carry out their agreement.

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Common Sense

An Obituary printed in the London Times; Interesting and sadly rather true.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain
  • Why the early bird gets the worm
  • Life isn’t always fair
  • And, maybe it was my fault

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

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Gwyn Prosser

Ex New Labour Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal

Gwyn Prosser has three homes paid for by the state yet he was a member of a planning committee which voted to enter my property and destroy my home. This action not only breached two sections of the Town and Country Planning Act but made a family with two children homeless.

In 2004 I wrote to Gwyn Prosser, when he was New Labour MP for Dover, asking for his assistance in resolving my dispute with the council and explained that my letters to the Planning Department and various District Councillors had been ignored. I asked him if he would allow me time to discuss this matter further at his next available surgery.

He wrote back informing me that he was a Member of the Opposition Group on the Council at the time my home was demolished and he had a recollection of the course of events that led to demolition. He didn’t agree to meet me but said that he would write to Dover Council’s Chief Executive.

Mr Prosser wrote back to me some time later advising me that there was little he could do at this stage. We exchanged a few more letters and I provided him with more factual information but no progress was made. I got the impression that he was not concerned about the Council’s wrongdoing.

During 2006, whilst gathering evidence against Dover District Council DDC, I discovered that at the time the order was given to demolish my home, not only was Mr Prosser a Member of the Opposition Group on the Council, he was also a Member of the Planning Committee that gave the demolition order.

When I discovered that fact I wrote to him and asked the specific question:

“Are you aware that Council Officials misled the Planning Committee and the Planning Inspectorate in order to achieve their aim to demolish my home?”

I explained to him that this had been confirmed following an investigation commissioned by the Chief Executive and the subsequent report highlighted serious failings of both the Planning and Legal departments.

He didn’t answer my question so I wrote and asked him again. Once more he refused to answer! It makes me wonder why. Perhaps the planning committee were fully aware of what they were doing and were not being misled. If so that makes them complicit in the criminal act of demolishing my home.

We exchanged a few more letters but Mr Prosser didn’t seem very helpful. In fact he told me that he wouldn’t help pursue protracted grievances that were the responsibility of the constituent. He added that if I did attend a ‘surgery’ he would allow me fifteen minutes of his time but not time to re-visit the ‘unfortunate events of the past twenty two years’.

  • Mr Prosser obviously realises there has been a wrongdoing and a criminal act committed, so why does he want to ignore it?
  • Was our local Member of Parliament content that Dover District Council DDC acts above the law and should it be asked, is he part of the problem?
  • When he was on the planning committee was he deceived or was he in fact an active, knowing part of the wrong and the public deception that followed?
  • If it was an ‘unfortunate event’ but a genuine mistake, what is he afraid of in helping to put it right?

It is important to emphasise that Dover District Council DDC were found guilty of maladministration with injustice regarding the demolition of my home by the outcome of their own investigation.

Whilst Mr Prosser appears to be genuinely concerned about Dover town he isn’t willing to help remedy a proven issue of maladministration and injustice within Dover District Council.

Is it naive for a constituent to expect their MP to abhor a proven wrong carried out by a public funded body?

In connection with the much publicised MPs’ expenses scandal This Is Kent reported:

 


Dover and Deal MP Gwyn Prosser’s expenses revealed

Thursday, June 25, 2009 – This is Kent

    • A PANASONIC TV costing £718
    • A £200 TV stand
    • A £330 bed
    • A £170 armchair 

They are just some of the items Dover and Deal MP Gwyn Prosser has paid for with YOUR cash.

Using the second homes allowance, covering the cost of having somewhere to live in London while carrying out Parliamentary work, the Labour backbencher also used taxpayers cash to buy £229 light fittings, £199.50 blinds and pot plants worth £49.99.

The claims were made between 2005 and 2007.

The former seaman, who has two flats in the capital and a family home in River, also racked up £11,118.66 in food bills from April 2004 to March 2008 and claimed £3,334.13 in January 2006 for items which have been blacked out by the Commons authorities on expenses documents made public last week.

On top of Mr Prosser’s salary, which was upped from £61,820 a year to £64,766 on April 1, the father-of-three has also claimed for items including £32.50 for Fairtrade coffee and hot chocolate for his Dover office, £24 for a toaster, £229.99 for a washing machine, £219 for flooring, £35 for kitchen utensils and £44 for a fan.

This is in addition to monthly mortgage interest payments ranging from £765 to £913, £650 of public money he used to pay his brother Huw to lay flooring at one of his London properties in 2006, £375 of incidental expenses for office costs towards a wifi laptop bought from ebay and a whopping £769 to have his yearly tax returns done. Regular claims were also made for utilities bills and for BT and two mobile phone service providers.

In March Mr Prosser slammed attempts to keep expense claims under wraps saying secrecy shattered the public trust in MP’s. He told the Express:

“There is the impression that we are all crooks.”

Mr Prosser, elected in 1997, has defended the claims, saying: “When my washing machine at home blows up I pay for that and all other things for my house in Dover I pay for but there are additional costs for having a home in London and if I didn’t have to live away I wouldn’t have those costs.”

The father-of-three has expressed dismay at the huge swathes of information blacked out by Parliamentary authorities and has offered to show the Express unredacted copies of the documents at the end of this week.

He said: “The Clerk of the House and Chief Executive gave written warning to all MPs in all parties that publishing their accounts in their raw condition could make us liable for prosecution under the Data Protection Act. In my view they have been over protective and the whole-scale redaction of documents has only served to reinforce people’s views that there’s a big cover-up going on.

“Like most of my colleagues I have got nothing to cover up and as long as I can protect the privacy of my staff’s personal details and bank account numbers, I am more than willing to invite the local press to my office to examine my unredacted accounts. Once I have assurances of the legal position I’ll be pleased to publish the lot – without redaction – on my website.”

Tory parliamentary hopeful Charlie Elphicke said items such as food should not be claimed for. He said: “We are in a deep recession and hard-working families struggle to buy basic food, knives and forks, toasters and a TV licence. Many families can’t afford to replace a washing machine. They will be asking how it can be right that an MP should be able to claim these things on the public ticket. I struggle to understand how it can be appropriate under any circumstances to claim for food but rather than commenting on Mr Prosser I am more interested in reform and rebuilding trust. We need to move forward.”


 

And The Daily Telegraph carried the following report:

 


Gwyn Prosser paid his brother, from his taxpayer-funded expenses, to carry out work on his London flat – despite the fact that he lived almost 200 miles away.

His brother, Huw Prosser, who lived near Swansea, was paid £650 of public money to lay flooring at the flat in 2006.

The same year, Gwyn Prosser also made claims totalling £2,782 for work at another flat he owned in London, even though it had not been his designated second home for three years and he was renting it out.

The MP bought his first London flat in Elephant and Castle upon his election in 1997. It was his designated second home until 2003, when he bought a second flat a 10-minute walk away and rented out the first property.

He changed his second home designation to the new flat, but in March 2006 Mr Prosser attempted to recoup the costs of work on his first flat three years previously.


 

In the local newspaper, dated 23 April 2009, it was reported that Dover’s MP, ‘Three Homes’ Gwyn Prosser had claimed £91,463 in expenses on his second home while earning income from letting out his third home. Mr Prosser owns his home in his constituency and two London flats.

The following is an extract from a report in the Dover Express of 14 February 2008:

 


‘Three homes’ Gwyn wants property reform

DOVER and Deal MP Gwyn Prosser has called for a reform of the system that allows MPs to build up property portfolios using taxpayers’ cash despite buying two London homes using cash from a parliamentary housing allowance himself.

The Labour MP was revealed as one of 43 MPs declaring rental income from properties in London or their constituencies while claiming the additional cost allowance. This allowance should be used for mortgage interest and not for capital repayments. The maximum pay out is £23,083 a year. Mr Prosser has claimed £17,713 from the allowance.

He owns two London properties, a two-bed flat which he stays in while in London and a one-bed flat near the Elephant and Castle, which he rents to tenants. He also owns a family home in the affluent River area of Dover.

But Mr Prosser said his allowance has only been used for interest payments although he agrees the system is open to abuse. He said: “I would really welcome a complete reform of the system. There has been much discussion about MPs and some have been abusing the system to a severe degree and that tars us all with the same brush. I was elected in 1997 and I started to buy a one-bed flat in London to live in. I didn’t know if I could afford it and I paid a deposit out of my own savings. I started paying the mortgage with my own money but was drawing the interest element from the fees office. It was no longer fit for purpose so in 2003 I put it on the market and looked for a two-bed flat. It did not sell but I needed to go ahead with my purchase and the estate agent suggested I let it. I have just continued letting it since then.”

Mr Prosser said the rent payments offer little profit and mainly cover the mortgage repayments although he admitted the property is a capital asset.

He added: “It’s all completely within the rules.”

www.thisiskent.co.uk


 

If you would like to know more about Gwyn Prosser, his Parliamentary work including questions he raises, plus where he features in the expenses table then go to… theyworkforyou.com

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Dover Castle

Dover Castle

 

Dover Castle is regarded as one of the greatest and most impressive castles in existence.

Dover_Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has an incredibly long and rich history, and  recently English Heritage have done a magnificent job of recreating Henry II’s medieval palace.

The Great Tower Interior

 

For the past couple of years historians have been working in conjunction with blacksmiths, carpenters, embroiderers and painters to give Dover Castle a £2.45 million ‘medieval makeover’ and the result is outstanding.

Guest Hall

 

The following is an excellent brief description of Dover Castle by English Heritage

The History of Dover Castle

Commanding the shortest sea crossing between England and the continent, Dover Castle has a long and immensely  eventful history. Many centuries before King Henry II began the great stone castle here in the 1160s, its  spectacular site atop the famous ‘White Cliffs’ was an Iron Age hill fort, and it still houses a Roman lighthouse,  one of the best-preserved in Europe. The Anglo-Saxon church beside it was once probably part of a Saxon fortified  settlement: very soon after his victory at Hastings in 1066, this was converted by William the Conqueror into a  Norman earthwork and timber-stockaded castle.

From then on Dover Castle was garrisoned uninterruptedly until 1958, a continuous nine-century span equalled only  by the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. The stronghold hosted royal visits by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and  Charles I’s Queen Henrietta Maria: and from 1740 until 1945, its defences were successively updated in response to  every European war involving Britain.

The Medieval Castle

Dover Castle is above all a great medieval fortress, created by King Henry II and his Plantagenet successors. At  its heart stands the mighty keep or Great Tower, 83 feet (25.3m) high and just under 100 feet (30m) square, with  walls up to 21 feet (6.5m) thick. The grandest and among the last of the keeps raised by the kings of England  during the 11th and 12th centuries, it was designed by Henry II’s architect ‘Maurice the Engineer’ and built  between 1180 and 1185. A symbol of kingly power and authority guarding the gateway to the realm, it was also a  palace designed for royal ceremony, and to house Henry’s travelling court. Within this magnificent showpiece, Henry  could welcome and impress distinguished visitors to England– particularly noble pilgrims travelling to the new  shrine in Canterbury Cathedral of St.Thomas Becket, slaughtered before the altar by Henry’s household knights only  a dozen or so years before the Great Tower was begun.

Once the king’s closest friend, Becket had later become his bitter enemy: and though Henry probably did not intend  his murder, he did extravagant penance for a crime which shocked all 12th-century Europe, walking barefoot to  Canterbury and allowing himself to be flogged there by all 70 cathedral monks. Having done his penance, Henry both  capitalised on the situation and re-established his prestige by building the Great Tower. Here the distinguished  visitors who began flocking to Becket’s tomb very soon after his martyrdom could be in no doubt about the king’s  power, wealth and authority.

The Great Tower

As one of English Heritage’s most ambitious projects for many years, the entire interior of Henry’s Great Tower  palace has now been breathtakingly recreated. Historians, designers, artists and craftspeople have combined to  present it as it might have appeared when newly completed, and ready to receive an important visitor, Count Philip  of Flanders, in 1184.

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Links

 

1978 Birchwood 33 GT £29,950

Powered by twin Ford 120hp diesel engines; shaft drive.

Semi displacement hull.

More information and photos here


www.whistleblowerinfo.com


Name-n-Shame An excellent web site set up with the express purpose of tackling corruption and dishonesty in Local Authorities. People generally contact them once they have discovered that there really is no justice in the accepted channels.

Quote from their web site:

“Local authorities tend to pursue their own agenda. The only solution is to have honest elected councillors who are prepared to fight corruption … and they are as rare as rocking horse s***!

 


Judge blasts Council for ‘nonsense’ garden case… more

 


Rotten Borough is a web site dedicated to exposing Council corruption. The site owner, Ian Johnston, is a former Councillor so he is well placed to know what goes on within.

An extract from his website, reproduced below, certainly echoes my own experience of Dover District Council:

“As you may know, a council is run by a combination of councillors and officers. The councillors are volunteers who are elected by the local residents to serve for four years. They are paid expenses but, until recently, no salary. They are supposed to decide the policy of the council by democratic vote.

Council officers are paid employees. They are supposed to put the policy determined by the councillors into action. They also provide specialist advice to the councillors.

Unfortunately, most councillors seem to have little idea of what is really going on at the council, never mind in the locality they are supposed to represent. Instead of using their own judgement, they vote the way that their party political leaders tell them to. This usually involves “Rubber-stamping” the recommendations made by the officers.

Therefore it is the officers who are really deciding the policy of the council, for whatever reasons they see fit. As the councillors fail to make them accountable to the electorate, they are free to maximise their pay and perks, and minimise their workload.

Officers have little incentive to see that taxpayers’ money is well spent, or that staff or contractors do their jobs properly. Poor workmanship is rewarded by full pay.”

You can view the Rotten Borough website by clicking here

 


www.seered.co.uk/ An interesting web site written by a scientist who finally decided ‘enough was enough’ when faced with the incompetence and malevolence of local councils in England. SeeRed covers a wide range of topics including town planning and general local government incompetence.

 


www.rottencouncil.co.uk/

Council Maladministration and Injustice. Abuse of Power and Misconduct.

 


Amy Hunter

Amy Hunter was a fragile 87 year old lady who over the last few years of her life had to suffer substantial injustice because of Council maladministration, which was further compounded by the local government ombudsman’s failure to do anything about it.

Councils committing acts of maladministration are one thing but when the Ombudsman stands idly by whilst they do it, then tries to help them bury the fact, means there is a total lack of justice for people like Amy.

This is just one example of how useless and uncaring the Local Government Ombudsman is. Their refusal to do anything about council maladministration had a serious impact on Amy Hunter’s quality of life.

Sadly Amy died on Saturday the 17th November but at least the Council will no longer be able to abuse her Human Rights. However, her family are still suffering from the Council’s abuse of power, whilst the Local Government Ombudsman conveniently looks the other way.

 


www.local-government-ombudsman-lgo.blogspot.com/

If anyone needs convincing whether or not the Local Government Ombudsman is dishonest, underhand and pro-Council biased, then check out this site.

 


The Local Government Ombudsman

 

 

 


 

What is Maladministration?

 


Planning Sanity

 


Common Sense

 


Whistleblowers

The law that protects whistleblowers is for the public interest – so people are encouraged to speak out if they find malpractice in an organisation. They can do so knowing they’re protected from losing their job and/or being victimised. Blowing the whistle is more formally known as ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’.


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