Council drops Dale Farm prosecution
Thursday 23 August 2012
A council will take no further action against protesters arrested during the clearance of Europe's largest illegal travellers' site.
The protesters were among those arrested as they clashed with police and bailiffs as travellers were removed from Dale Farm, Essex, in October last year.
Basildon Council successfully prosecuted two people for obstructing a bailiff and issued cautions to 10 others.
But today it announced it was dropping the prosecution of 14 others.
Solicitor Raj Chada, from Hodge Jones and Allen LLP which represented the protesters, welcomed the news.
He said: "As well as the millions spent on the eviction itself, Basildon Council sought to spend even more on a vindictive prosecution of a group of people who happened to disagree with them - and this at a time when local services are being slashed because of budget cuts. Thankfully for the clients, it is over."
Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, said the decision had been taken after a district judge questioned the public interest in bringing the earlier prosecution.
He added: "This has been a finely balanced decision. I understand and respect the judge's comments about the time that has elapsed, the fact the site is cleared and any fines imposed would be low.
"I am concerned about the message this would send to the protesters, who caused the council to incur considerable extra expense, and to our residents who have had to pick up the bill.
"However, there are a number of other factors to consider, including the time and cost for the police and the council and the court time that this is taking up."
The multi-million pound clearance followed a decade-long row over unauthorised plots on the six-acre site.
There were violent clashes as scores of protesters joined travellers to resist the clearance.
- 1 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
- 4 Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
- 5 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
David Haines remembered: Death of British hostage executed by Isis lamented from the Balkans to Sudan
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
Jennifer Lawrence to make public appearance after nude photo leaks as Met Gala Ball 2015 co-host
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Job opportunity for an Early years ...
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...
£70 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Experienced bursar or business...
Competitive & Flexible: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are l...