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News and Comment October 2012

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1 October (Part 4) - Another day ten minutes in court

The not so derelict garden The not so derelict garden The not so derelict gardenI was at Bexley Magistrates Court again this morning for the next stage of Rita Grootendorst’s appeal against Bexley council’s Section 215 notice. It was all over in fewer than 15 minutes and the council were told to have their trial bundle ready by the 15th. Mr. Wong, the council’s legal officer, said he would try to get one ready. The court officer said “try doesn’t come into it”.

To some extent the hearing seemed to be a waste of time that could have been sorted out on the telephone but I did learn something.

Mr. David Bryce-Smith, constantly referred to by Mr. Wong as a very senior council officer, had authorised the investigation into Rita’s garden and signed the documents sent to her without authority to do so. He lacked the “delegated powers” apparently. It was said in court that he had issued a large number of Section 215s without possessing the necessary powers - “over 100” was mentioned.

This illegal act has been retrospectively put right by providing Bryce-Smith with the necessary power. Some sort of pen waving exercise I expect and very likely it will now have no effect on the case. However the point is that once again Bexley council has been acting outside the law and with the top five managers sharing nearly a million pounds a year in salaries and perks one would expect rather better.


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