Wednesday, 19 December 2007

King of the Castle

An Englishman's home used to be his castle. Not, it seems, any more. According to this bizarre story in the Daily Mail, a legal loophole has forced a South Gloucestershire family to take in an unwanted guest after he gave their address to a court and was given a curfew.

Brenda and Robert Cole say the first thing they knew about it was when Shane Sims, a 19 year-old friend of their daughter, moved in on Thursday - followed by security contractors who put a box in a bedroom to monitor his movements with an ankle tag.

The Coles, who both have learning difficulties, say his unwanted presence has turned their lives upside down, but there is nothing they can do about it. The Probation Service did not verify the address that Sims gave to the Court last Thursday, when he admitted breaching a two-year supervision order imposed for assault, and the Police say they cannot remove him from the property without a Court order.

I wonder which blundering jobsworth at the Probation Service couldn't be bothered to check up on Sims' story? Surely, the Coles should be in a position to sue the ass off both the Probation Service and the Court that granted the order, and, I would think, stand to make a tidy sum in compensation as a result.

In general, I don't have much truck with today's compensation culture, and, in most cases, I'd give the Claimant a ding around the ear instead of compensation. But I'd make a very big exception in this case - the Probation Service seems to have been grossly negligent, and the Court, which must by now be aware of its error, doesn't seem to have acted with any speed to set it right. The result of incompetence and indolence is a great deal of distress for the Coles, and they deserve to be compensated in FULL.

Yes, I know, the Courts are up to their ears in scum bags, and it takes a little while to get an application heard. But there are also facilities for emergency applications, and, in appropriate cases, temporary injunctions can be granted in a matter of hours. Surely, a Judge - just about ANY Judge - could be found to set aside the curfew order and replace it with a custodial sentence for Sims in a matter of hours, at most? If not, then we have now seen conclusive proof that the entire legal system is in complete disarray and exists only to keep its operatives in work - for it does nothing to benefit the population at large.

Billy Seggars.

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