Sunday, 11 April 2010

The 'Anglesey 2' - a background

Regular readers of this blog will no doubt have seen many references in comments to the "Anglesey 2". In particular, there is a very long discussion regarding their treatment in the comments to this post. As not all readers are likely to know the history behind the case, I thought it would be useful to post this extract from the Daily Post on September 6th, 2006 (with thanks to commenter 'cymrosirfon' for having dug it out'):

Brothers face £100k bill for court battle
TWO brothers' 20-year-long battle with planning bosses ended in a High Court defeat yesterday. 
Gordon and David Pritchard tried to sue Anglesey council for more than pounds 3m in a complex planning wrangle. 
Last night they were facing a counter claim for costs which could reach pounds 100,000. 
The brothers, who conducted their own case, claimed council officers deliberately tried to stop plans for Glanaber Caravan Park in Amlwch Port - run by their dad from 1963. 
They claimed misfeasance in public office and negligence against Anglesey council. 
The council denied both allegations. The case began last year and was heard at three different courts - Chester, Crewe and Caernarfon. 
Yesterday, Chester High Court judge Derek Halbert delivered his 27-page written judgment into whether the brothers proved liability against the council. 
But the council did not escape criticism from Judge Halbert who described the council's handling of the file as far from ideal. 
Finding the claim of negligence and misfeasance failed he said: "I remain satisfied to a high standard of probability that the council officers acted without malice, indeed they had acted in the belief what they were doing was right." 
The dispute stretched back decades. 
In February 1963, the brothers' father John Pritchard, who died seven years ago, applied for permission for 50 residential caravans for Wylfa Power Station construction workers and their families. 
In April 1963, the local council granted temporary planning consent during that construction work. 
In 1967 it gave permanent permission for holiday use. 
Later the council claimed it served an enforcement notice preventing the brothers using the site. 
However, in December 2000, a Welsh Office inspector decided the Pritchards did have planning permission to put 26 caravans on the site. 
During the case Gordon Pritchard who lives at Cemaes, was able to cross examine top planning bosses, including corporate director Arthur Owen. 
Armed with piles of dossiers, the brothers unsuccessfully attempted to prove they were owed a duty of care by the council and that it was negligent. 
Last night a council spokesman said: "We are pleased with the judgment, particularly the judge's conclusion the officers, against whom the claimants had made serious allegations, all acted honestly and in good faith. 
"During the course of the claim the council offered the claimants three opportunities to withdraw the claims and bring the court proceedings to an end. 
They refused, leaving the council no choice but to defend the claims, at significant cost. 
"It is now our duty and responsibility to take all reasonable steps to recover, from the claimants, the public money which has been wasted in defending these unmeritorious claims." 
The Daily Post understands the costs could be in the region of £80,000 to £100,000.

The upshot is that the family involved has been ruined by the legal costs of fighting the Council on this issue. I strongly suspect that one of the two brothers is a regular commenter on this site and (I hope he will forgive me saying) the anguish he still feels is apparent to all in his comments. I'm not an expert in this case - however, putting aside the verdict outlined above, there is no doubt that the Anglesey 2 feel unjustly treated. Furthermore I would venture that the Council could have handled the situation in a better way - one which wouldn't have resulted in the brothers having to pay the ruinously large legal fees run up by the council in contesting this case.


Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as perfect justice.
This case has run its is exhausted.
The Court found insufficient or no evidence to support the claim of negligence or misfeasance.
The csae has suffered from lack of expert representation which is not surprising.
Since such high monetary issues were at stake should the Brothers not have hired professional help ?
Best advice, don`t throw good money after bad ?

John Vooght said...

"It is now our duty and responsibility to take all reasonable steps to recover, from the claimants, the public money which has been wasted in defending these unmeritorious claims."

So, will the Council bosses who decided to try and get their own way at the proposed Beaumaris Marina site - but failed - be now applying the same logic to themselves? Examine the first instance judgment and you could be forgiven for thinking that those deciding to go to the Court of Appeal, and the the House of Lords (pre-Supreme Court), couldn't read the writing on the wall against them.

What I can say is that Arthur Owen, Corporate Director at the Council, has made demonstrably unfounded, false, and defamatory statements about me, and has been shown to have broken the Data Protection Act 1998, to boot. He has apologised in what I find reluctant terms for the latter, but for the former, there has been nothing but an ignoring of the matter. The case is due for a decision by the LA Ombudsman very shortly and will be publicly viewable online.

J. Vooght said...

And just as I finished writing, the Ombudsman's letter came through the post:

"I therefore propose to conclude that there has been maladministration in relation to the Council's handling of your complaint".

So there. Now Mr. Owen has learned that, when it comes to a complaint against him, he is not the person who should be responding to it, which is, remarkably (or not, by Anglesey standards), what happened! Such an enlightened little lot, our Council.

Other comments are that the Council has not, in practice, offered an adequate apology and must issue a full apology dealing with all aspects of my initial complaint.

Anonymous said...

Pigs will fly before you get an apology from these wrongdoers, the only way to cure us of these idiots is to do unto them as they have done unto you...

Anonymous said...

The Public Sector Ombudsman Mr Peter Tyndall is not doing his job properly. He incorrectly dismissed an expert witness report prepared by a Chartered Surveyor by engaging the services of a surveyor from Cardiff to negate the findings. The only problem is that Mr Tyndall's Surveyor never inspected the property.

Anonymous said...

This about sums up IOACC. Internal Auditor's investigating allegations relating to Grant Irregularities left the files with the Department under investigation and when later cross-examined at interview claimed they made a mistake when they told the complainant's accountant that the file was with Housing because a colleagues mother had died. To add insult to injury they now claim they cannot perform an accurate audit due to unsigned and undated documents held on file. Clowns.

Anonymous said...

These fools that we have in the IOACC, do NOT deserve to be there, they have too much power, and their ability to issue an enforcement notice against a man dying of cancer, just to make sure he knew who the boss was! This man was terminally ill, his case led to court, he asked for a copy of this enforcement notice, it didn't exist? Are the magistrates and Court staff in cahoots with these fools. It's hard to know who is in charge anymore, and when things go wrong in IOACC, they run as fast as they can to hide the evidence, and bury everything. We know who they are, they should be SACKED.

Anonymous said...

Jon Vooght - I heard from a very good source that Arthur Owen is the Ace of Spades. Hope you nail him but don't rely too much on Ombudsman Peter Tyndall he is far from thorough.