If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

At last, some common sense from the Bench

Via JuliaM, this doozy of a story:

A RESTAURANT owner spoke of his astonishment last night after a clamping firm tried to charge him for “loss of earnings” because he warned customers to avoid a private car park next door.

The restaurant owner was losing business because the clamping firm were pouncing on his customers who left their cars for a few minutes to pick up a takeaway. The land in question is a private car park belonging to another firm, but it is immediately adjacent to the restaurant and is the obvious place to leave your car when stopping for a short time.

Note that the restaurant owner was not objecting to the clamping itself, which we can assume is legitimate, but was taking the step of warning his customers so that they did not inadvertently get clamped and have to pay a £150 release fee. The clamping firm threatened legal action against the owner, citing 'loss of earnings'.

In a letter to Mr Hussein, Jason White wrote: “If you carry on to warn people away from the car park causing me loss of earning I will have to issue a county court summons in the region of £150 for each day you do this.”

Mr Hussein was stunned when he then received a letter from Northampton County Court saying Mr White had lodged a claim for £535. The clamper had demanded £500 “loss of earnings”, a £35 “court fee” and £150 per day until the court case.

So the clamping operation is not to stop illegal parking, it is to generate revenue for the clampers. Anything which prevents them from fining people is 'interference with trade'. Thank goodness the judge who heard the case had a gram of common sense:

At Southampton County Court District Judge Andrew Grand dismissed White’s claim, saying that Mr Hussein was allowed to warn customers.

He said: “It is ordered that the claim is struck out as disclosing no reasonable grounds for bringing proceedings.

“It is not tortious to warn people of vehicle clamping operating in a car park.”

A legal judgement based on reasonable common sense? Well, that's a novelty.

Whites Car Park Solutions and the car park owner refused to comment.

I'll bet.

Oh, and that 'Solutions' in your name is annoying too.

There was a story a while ago about a burglar who prosecuted the police for arresting him and thereby preventing him going about his normal business. I thought that was a joke, but these days it's getting hard to tell.

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