Expensive Briefs Are Pants! Say Exodus
Exodus successfully defend Council's high court case
6th April 2000
The Exodus Collective of Luton have successfully defended themselves in High Court against attempts by South Beds District Council to extract £4000 from them following their free party on millennium night.
As previously reported on the SQUALL site (see New Deals Down on the Farm in SQUALL features), South Beds Council took out an injunction against key members of the Exodus Collective banning them from having any involvement in organising a free party on Millennium night. The Exodus Collective went ahead with the party which was attended - without adverse incident - by around 3000 people who danced their way to the new millennium in a disused warehouse on the outskirts of Luton. Following the event, South Beds Council decided not pursue the breach of injunction because, according to their submission: "A decision has now been made that it would be unwise for the Council to bring such proceedings as, although it does have a substantial amount of evidence, there is still a significant risk that it would not be able to prove a breach to the required criminal standard (i.e. beyond all reasonable doubt)."
However, in a legally bizarre manoeuvre, the Council took key Exodus members to the High Court in an attempt to get them to pay back all the money the Council had spent on bringing the injunction in the first place. These included barrister's fees of £210 an hour and legal assistant fees at £90 an hour. With every telephone call and letter included in the summation, the amount came to a staggering £3981. Evidence brought by the South Beds Council included a false statement written by PC John Schofield claiming that injuncted Exodus spokesperson, Glenn Jenkins, had directed traffic on the night and was therefore involved in 'organising' the event.
However, when the case came before the High Court on March 28, Mr. Justice Astill severely castigated the Council for bringing the action in the first place.
"What worries me is that you got an order and you don't do anything about it. If you get an injunction, you do so on good grounds for getting it in the first place. If then you take no action it shows the injunction was on the wrong grounds anyway. If injunctions are used for other reasons...then you are not acting reasonably in the first place."
Due to the speed with which the case was brought, Glenn Jenkins appeared without legal representation, though in the end he did not have to speak in his own defence as the judge ruled against South Beds Council. "You ought to be examining your policy of applying for injunctions," he told the Council's barrister. "On the face of it I am critical. I don't think under any circumstances that you should have costs."
The court victory followed a verbal exchange outside the court between Mr Jenkins and the Council's brief Terence Griffiths. Mr. Griffiths was named in the court case as the barrister commanding the £210 an hour fee which was amongst the costs the Council wanted Exodus to pay back. SQUALL was on hand to record the exchange.
Glenn Jenkins: "You get £210 an hour to pursue a case which is trying to force me to pay your fees. I have four kids and get £210 a fortnight, how do you feel about that. Do you consider that morally responsible?" Terrence Griffiths: "What about the moral responsibility of putting on a party which might lead to the injury or death of someone?"
Glenn Jenkins: "I feel fine about the moral responsibility of putting on parties which local people can afford to go to. Where is your moral basis?" Stumped for an answer and with a visibly reddening face Terrence Griffiths then refused Glenn Jenkin's offer of the coat on his back.
"I tell you what," said Jenkins. "You've got more chance of finding a pork chop in a synagogue that you have of me paying you that money." And so it proved to be.
A NEW DEAL DOWN ON THE FARM? - A multi-ethnic housing estate, on which many of Exodus Collective of Luton were born and live, is coming together in a New Deal for Communities bid - Spring-2000
To see Squall's full coverage of Exodus click here