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  • Hare Hatch Sheeplands gets backing of Judge

    Wokingham Borough Council cannot appeal against a ruling made on Hare Hatch Sheeplands last year.
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    This related to a prosecution action sought by Wokingham Borough Council.
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    Lady Justice Hallett also removed the reporting restriction applied by Wokingham Borough Council.
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    Hare Hatch Sheeplands plant nursery had claimed an ?abuse of process? by the Council.
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    It charged owner Rob Scott and others with a criminal offence – being in breach of an enforcement notice.
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    Hare Hatch Sheeplands claimed the Council was unfair in deciding to prosecute.
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    It was a ?misuse? of the court process, particularly as full compliance had been achieved.

    Hare Hatch Sheeplands matter over

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    At the Crown Court hearing Her Honour Judge Morris agreed with Hare Hatch Sheeplands.
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    She stated that owner Rob Scott had been ?induced? by Council officials to withdraw his appeal.
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    She added that this had the effect of denying him the opportunity to have the matter tested in the appropriate planning forum.
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    Thereafter, she said, the Council ?sought to gain advantage of this situation by prosecuting Mr. Scott for the alleged transgression of the enforcement notice, without him having recourse to the appeal process.?
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    Concluding her Judgement, Her Honour Judge Morris said: ?The fact the council has chosen to do so under these circumstances is unjust and unfair.
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    It offends the court?s sense of justice that it must stay the proceedings. This is in respect of these defendants to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system.?
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    Following this Judgement, Wokingham Borough Council applied for permission to challenge the judgement.
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    Lady Justice Hallett ended the hearing by saying the original judgement was ?without fault and acceptable.?
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    She refused to give the Council permission to appeal. She confirmed that all defendants had been acquitted. Criminal charges against Mr. Scott and the other individuals are now at an end.
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    In her hour long summing up Lady Justice Hallett said the Council?s decision to prosecute ?was flawed.?
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    Her decision was supported by The Rt Hon Lord Justice Lindblom and The Rt Hon Mrs. Justice Carr. They both presided over the Court of Appeal proceedings.
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    Mr Scott said he would take every opportunity to open a dialogue with the Council to further this aim.

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