A distinguished international lawyer failed yesterday in a High Court attempt to be allowed to keep electronically operated steel gates, which protect his family home from muggers and burglars.
Hamid Sabi, 54, whose wife and sister were the victims of violent robberies before the 1.8-metre gates were installed, asked a judge to rule that protecting his family should take precedence over the views of local authority planners, who had objected to the gates on environmental grounds. He said his right to enjoy his property was being infringed because, if the gates had to come down, he would be forced to leave the six-bedroom house in Winnington Road, Hampstead Garden Suburb, north London, rather than risk further attacks. Presenting his case, Mr Sabi said: "The safety of my family comes first. At the heart of this appeal is my family's right to a safe and secure home as guaranteed under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It is my submission that in the absence of gates my family would be less secure and less safe. At present my family feels secure behind these gates."
He told the judge: "If we are not allowed to retain these gates I will have no option but to move house, and that seriously interferes with our rights under Article 8." But, after expressing sympathy for the ordeals that members of his family had suffered, Mr Justice Forbes rejected his appeal, ruling that a planning inquiry inspector was entitled to conclude that crime prevention considerations were outweighed by the need to preserve the character and appearance of a conservation area.
Mr Sabisaid he would now ask the Court of Appeal to hear the case and was prepared to take it as far as the European Court of Human Rights.