Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Canal and River Trust targets disabled man with no assets

If correct, the report on the KANDA site suggests that CRT retains the same vindictive streak towards some of the liveaboard boaters that it falls into dispute with as often seemingly applied under BW. As well as families with children it now seems that disabled people living on benefits are to be discouraged from living afloat.

Apparently CRT are trying to claim £76 000 from George Ward who it took to Court earlier this year. A copy of the judgement in this case can be viewed on the CRT website (link to PDF file here).

George is a disabled man in receipt of benefits. Given the fact that pursuing a man with almost no assets for thousands of pounds seems like a fruitless exercise per se,  I have to agree with George's conclusion about the apparent continuing legal action:

“CRT’s move to take over £76,000 from me that they know I don’t have is vindictive and malicious. They are determined to hound me off the waterways. They failed with the Section 8, they failed to get an injunction, so they are trying another way to make me homeless”. He continued “This is harassment, they are trying to put psychological pressure on me so that I move off the canals. They won’t succeed, except over my dead body”.

It will be interesting to see what a court makes of it all given CRT are clearly fully aware of George's circumstances.

One also has to question whether the £76 000 of charitable funds already spent on this case is an appropriate use of those resources. I wonder how many 'Friends of the CRT' realise this is what some of their donations are being spent on? I wonder if the CRT Trustees have endorsed the action?

It seems there is a just plain nasty streak somewhere in CRT. A while ago I claimed there was a 'secret war', going on and this seemed to be confirmed subsequently, most publically by Sally Ash's pronouncements on the Olympic Waterways. One simply has to question the judgement of the former BW and now CRT Boating Enforcement and Legal Teams.

CRT should perhaps also exercise a little more caution over relentlessly pursuing this case, with it seems, scant attention to cost. Such an approach to litigation has cost them dear before.

Still it should come as no surprise; they have already explained, "some people will have to suffer".

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