News Shorts & Other Busyness
Fines For Four Involved In Ejecting Squatters
Squall 6, Spring 1994, pg. 32.
The article below appeared in the Ham & High. New clauses slipped in to the Criminal Justice Bill on Feb. 8th will sanction violent entry. We will undoubtedly see more of this behaviour as the new clauses give tacit consent to vigilante bailiffs and licensed heavies.
A group of men who allegedly wielded pipes and sticks to smash their way in to a derelict house in Fitzjohn's Avenue, Hampstead, to evict Squatters, walked free from court last Thursday.
“The first noise the squatters heard was the sound of breaking glass as the men smashed through the French windows. There was some punching and unpleasantness, with most of the squatters suffering slight bruising, but one witness was taken to hospital with a broken finger,” Stephen Dawson, prosecuting, told Horseferry Road court.
“Some of the men have evaded justice completely but witnesses state that the size of the group was at least 10. The police arrived promptly and although some escaped, it was a credit to the defendants that they allowed themselves to be stopped by police,” added Mr. Dawson.
The six men who appeared in the dock were originally accused of using violence to obtain entry on November 16, but this charge was scrapped by the Crown Prosecution Service. A lesser charge of using threatening and disorderly behaviour was brought instead.
Four pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour: ex-soldier James Russell, 22, of Chiswick; sales manager Andrew Funnell, 29, of Hemel Hempstead; jobless Alan Livesey, 32, of Leicester, and Amin Ali, 29, unemployed, of Great Titchfield Street, Marylebone.
No evidence was offered against driver Sean Gane, 23, of Farnham, and jobless Stewart Garvin, 29, of Barking, who both agreed to be bound over in the sum of £200 to keep the peace for a year.
Mr. Dawson explained: “Difficult arose because of the number of people entering the house and it was difficult to pinpoint exactly where the violence came from.
“But even arriving at the house in such a large group was likely to cause distress. That is not the way to go about such an activity.”
Defence lawyer Martin Lewis told the court: “My clients had their visit organised by a Mr. Nash, who offered them all £50 each to move furniture. They deny being involved in any of the violence.”
All four who admitted the threats charge were conditionally discharged for 12 months. Funnell and Ali were each ordered to pay £20 costs and Livesey, £50.