GRIMSBY AND CLEETHORPES
Application to start a prosecution
(s1 Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980)
Listed: 26 April 2016
STATEMENT OF EVIDENCE
LIST OF EXHIBITS
Magistrates’ Courts Act, s 1 (Information) Exhibit 1
Email from Humb Police Exhibit 2
Email to Humb Police Exhibit 3
Email from Humb Police Exhibit 4
Evidence supporting allegations Exhibit 5
Humb Police confirming recording of complaint Exhibit 6
Humb Police outcome of complaint Exhibit 7
Appeal against outcome of complaint Exhibit 8
Costs suspended until outcome of proceedings Exhibit 9
Council’s Witness Statement Exhibit 10
Screen shots of internet forum posts Exhibit 11
Council’s Exhibit (NELC12) Exhibit 12
Original letter to Administrative Court Exhibit 13
Original letter from Administrative Court Exhibit 14
Email “Read Receipt” from Council Exhibit 15
Email “Read Receipt” from Council Exhibit 16
Email “Read Receipt” from Council Exhibit 17
Letter to the Justices’ Clerk (query delivery of case) Exhibit 18
Letter to the Justices’ Clerk (query delivery of case) Exhibit 19
Letter to the Justices’ Clerk (requesting certificate) Exhibit 20
S 26 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 Exhibit 21
. This statement and the above listed provides evidence to support the information laid on 8.3.16 [Exhibit 1
. On 12.11.15, Humberside Police (‘HP
’) responded by stating that a reported crime (one punishable as an offence whether occurring in criminal or civil proceedings), was a civil matter [Exhibit 2
. An email expressing dissatisfaction with HP’s response was sent 12.11.15 stating that a complaint would be submitted about whoever within the force made the decision. A request was made for the matter to be escalated for the attention of the Chief Constable so dissatisfaction of a subsequent decision would be subject to external scrutiny rather than the force investigating itself. [Exhibit 3
. HP made contact on 13.11.15, advising that all evidence should be collated to support the allegations [Exhibit 4
]. HP confirmed in a letter dated 23.11.15 that the Professional Standards Branch was in receipt of the complaint. The advice was acted on regarding the evidence and a statement produce dated 2.12.15 [Exhibit 5
]. A number of supporting documents were indexed but withheld awaiting assurance that they would be considered but the documents were never asked for.
. A letter dated 8.12.15 from HP confirmed that the matter had been formally recorded (CO 461/15) and enclose a copy of the complainant report [Exhibit 6
]. The letter (outcome) in relation to the complaint was sent on 13.1.16 [Exhibit 7
] stating that unless a request comes from the court, HP do not investigate allegations of perjury and was a matter to be argued with the court.
. On 15.1.16 Grimsby Magistrates’ court was forwarded HP’s outcome letter and asked if it would confirm that the North East Lincolnshire Council (the ‘Council’) had in fact produced a false witness statement and inform HP (the court had been forwarded the statement [Exhibit 5
] on 11.12.15). The court replied in this matter on 26.1.16 stating that it would not be taking any action regarding the allegations of perjury.
. An appeal against the outcome of local resolution was submitted on 25.1.16 [Exhibit 8
] but to date there has been no update in relation to any progress made.
Exhibits supporting false statement
. In summary, the council applied to the Magistrates' court to obtain a Council Tax liability order relating to the 2015/16 tax year. Payments were made in sufficient amount to meet the legal obligation to pay the sums set out on the demand notice and so the account was never in arrears.
. The Council engineered a 'non-payment' scenario, by allocating monies to a disputed sum which related to a previous year's account that was under appeal to the High Court. That sum was suspended [Exhibit 9
] pending the court's decision which has yet to be concluded. The Council allocate monies to the wrong account attributing that decision to believing that the sum was no longer disputed because the appeal had been withdrawn
(paras 69 & 73 of the Council’s Witness Statement submitted for Council Tax liability hearing 30.10.15 [Exhibit 10
. Evidence held supports that this claim was untrue, not on account of the appeal never being withdrawn (though it hasn't), but specifically because it is beyond all reasonable doubt that the council knew it had not been withdrawn. The Council posted monies to the suspended account on the premise that it believed the appeal had been withdrawn and therefore did so fraudulently.
. It is beyond reasonable doubt that two internet forum posts [Exhibit 11
] were the source of one of the Council’s exhibits (NELC12) referred to in its Witness Statement for Council Tax liability hearing 30.10.15 [Exhibit 12
]. These were two letters on which the Council sought to rely in justifying having ‘no further reason to believe that the costs were being disputed
’ because the ‘application for the Judicial review of the costs
' had been withdrawn.
. The original letters one dated 20.11.13 [Exhibit 13
] was in response to the Administrative Court's recommendation to withdraw the judicial review claim as the process had prompted the Magistrates to produce a draft case and deemed there no longer a need for further action on their part as the process of stating a case was underway.
- Note: The judicial review claim, which was a separate matter from the application to state a case for an appeal challenging the costs, was merely the vehicle used to get the Magistrates' court to comply with the procedure. The judicial review claim therefore was for a mandatory order, not a 'review of the costs' and so the case stated appeal challenging the summons costs had not been withdrawn.
The other letter dated 25.11.13 [Exhibit 14
] was the Administrative Court's response to confirm that the letter to withdraw had been accepted and the Court file closed.
. The letters contained in the Council’s submission had been redacted and matched the entries that were posted on the public forum. The forum is the only place from which those letters could be sourced in that form. The characteristics (redaction, formatting etc.) of the letters which the Council submitted to the court were identical to the forum posts [Exhibit 10
. The Council had for some reason not sought the original letters and made use of the website where every correspondence connected with the matter (albeit redacted) could be conveniently accessed. It is likely that if the Council had made use of the forum to produce its submission, it would have been informed from the regular updates posted that the case stated appeal was still being pursued. Even if the forum was not regularly viewed it was enough that it did once to source content to be certain that it knowingly made a false statement. The crux of the matter is that one of the posts from which the content was sourced [Exhibit 11
] (though omitted) had the following commentary accompanying it which reinforced the matter in itself:
Receipt of correspondence acknowledged after judicial review claim withdrawn
- “Back almost to square one.
Although the judicial review claim for mandatory order was not entirely successful in mandating the Magistrates' Court to state the case (other than the draft), it would never have been known there was a possibility to negotiate the terms of a recognizance at the hearing. It took this process to prompt a response from the Justices at Grimsby Magistrates' Court.
The next move then will be to arrange to appear before the Magistrates' Court to agree terms of a recognizance.”
. The Council had acknowledged receiving letters (email attachments) by way of 'read receipts' returned on 15 January [Exhibit 15
], 14 February [Exhibit 16
] and 23 April 2014 [Exhibit 17
] in respect of letters dated 10 January [Exhibit 18
], 13 February [Exhibit 19
] and 22 April 2014 [Exhibit 20
]. Those letters, which were copies of correspondence sent to the Justices' Clerk concerned matters that left no doubt that the high court appeal was still being pursued, and sent after the judicial review claim for mandatory order was withdrawn.
. The appropriation of monies was supported by the Council on the basis that it believed the appeal had been withdrawn, and on that basis alone. The council officer had therefore wilfully made a statement material in the proceeding, which he knew was untrue. As a consequence the Council now has a court order enabling it to enforce a fraudulently obtained sum, which is likely to accumulate because of additional costs which will over time to be sufficient in amount so the council will claim justification in taking measures such as bankruptcy, charging order or applying for a custodial sentence.
Improper exercise of police powers and privileges
. HP’s decision not to act, especially in light of the indisputable evidence must amount to improperly exercising police powers under subsections (5) and (6) of Section 26 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 [Exhibit 21
] as clearly the failure to exercise a power is to the detriment of another person.
. This statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Dated this 25th day of April 2016