Back in August last year we covered a story that typifies the behaviour of bailiffs, local authorities and the police when they respectively choose to break the law and refuse to take action against such law breaking.
It is an incredibly important and far reaching story with implications for many people and the way the law is applied in this country by the police, in what is a biased and uneven way which treats ordinary people differently to the agents of local authorities. As we explained at the time:
A compelling and detailed case history has been sent to Detective Inspector Caroline Stainer by Peter North. North’s stand against the illegal fees and refusal to pay for phantom visits has so far resulted in Rundles clamping his vehicle, even though they had no right to do so, North being convicted of criminal damage for removing it by cutting the padlock and Rundles then reporting his car as stolen even though they were not entitled to possession of the vehicle and did not have possession of the vehicle.
Avon & Somerset Police, like forces up and down the country, have turned a blind eye to such criminal behaviour by bailiffs, because they consider the activity of recovering debts on behalf of branches of the establishment – even by illegal means – as upholding law and good order.
Yesterday the case came to court. Peter North, with barrister representation ready to fight the charges on clear points of law, was confident of victory. Yet despite months passing since it was known that this case would come to court and be vigorously contested, the bailiffs and police hatched a new plan in front of the judge. North picks up the tale in detail on his blog which is dedicated to this matter:
We were well prepared to go in there and knock their socks off. But Avon and Scummerset Plod had different ideas. They sabotaged the trial by suggesting to the prosecution that they are “considering” filing a complaint of contempt of court and, get this… Witness Intimidation!
These claims are based on North having published the email address of a witness on his blog; but more pertinently he posted a scanned image of a witness statement, which could be considered contempt of court if he did not remove it, but which was removed immediately – months ago – when he was made aware of the situation. Although North was firmly within his rights to publish the email address of Nicola Spring, a Rundles employee who had anonymously posted comments in an effort to undermine North on a public advice forum, attempting to discredit and libel him while ironically using the forum username ‘truthful and honest’, posting the witness statement was an issue, hence his action to edit both of his blog posts.
Even so, subsequent to this, Rundles made a complaint of witness intimidation (ironic considering their behaviour in the matter over a period of months) on the basis of North publishing the witnesses email address. Rundles have had months to do this if they felt there was a case to answer for what they are alledging and the police have had months to consider whether arrest is appropriate and have the the Crown Prosecution Service assess the merits of the case, if they believe there is one and if there is a substantial chance of winning such a case.
Yet neither party have done anything about it until the very moment a judge, the police (who would otherwise be on duty, you know, supposedly catching real criminals), two bailiffs, prosecution barrister, defence barrister and a defendant who would otherwise be at work earning his pay in gainful employment, have been assembled in court. The only reasons they would have done this are:
- because Rundles realise their case is wafer thin (their case notes are apparently in complete disarray) and is being contested by a defendant who is rather more clued up and motivated than most people
- North has employed a barrister who is doing more than go through the motions and is seeking to make the law work
- Avon & Somerset Police consider the activity of recovering debts on behalf of branches of the establishment – even by illegal means – as upholding law and good order, and are desperate not to have the floodgates opened, forcing them to deal with bailiffs who act in a criminal manner when appointed as representatives of local authorities
The blatant abuse of the law, use of illegal methods to enforce collection of debts and even false reports of a vehicle theft to ensure harrassment of the debtor, as exhibited by Rundles, needs to be put to an end and punished severely. The actions of Avon & Somerset Police yesterday appear to be a conscious attempt to prevent that from happening – to prevent the establishment from being held to account by the law when its agents break the law.
Readers should draw their own conclusions from what North has presented on his blog, but as we said last August, it seems the police have been backed into a corner over bailiff phantom visits and illegal fees. Now they, with Rundles, seem to be resorting to desperate measures to prevent North having his day in court to expose this contemptible inaction and have it held to account.