Letter: How to deal with bird women and feral pigeons

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The Independent Online
Sir: Jean Knowlson was not sent to prison because she put food down for birds. She was sent to prison because she deliberately defied a court order ("The bird woman dilemma", 26 July).

I have no doubt that Mrs Knowlson was given ample opportunity to put her side of the case at the hearing of the application for an injunction. The judge, having heard and considered the evidence, made an order restraining Mrs Knowlson from certain acts.

The written injunction order would, as is standard practice, have been endorsed with a penal notice informing Mrs Knowlson that if she disobeyed the order she would be in contempt of court and might be sent to prison. If Mrs Knowlson was in court when the order was made, this would have been explained to her. Additionally, or in the alternative, the order would have been served upon her personally and her attention drawn to the penal notice.

If Mrs Knowlson deliberately chose to flout the court order, having been informed of the consequences of so doing in advance, then what choice did the judge have but to enforce the order and send her to prison? To do otherwise would have made a mockery of our judicial system - it matters not whether the defendant was a female pensioner or an 18-year-old skinhead.

Yours faithfully,

Jane Dowell

Marcus-Barnet Solicitors

London, N1

25 July