Monday, 17 May 2010


During the election campaign I received an email from the Borough solicitor informing me that an injunction had been taken out in my name (and every other Cllr) against a pensioner who was deemed to be harassing council staff and other members of Northampton Borough Council. The injunction forbid any contact between the pensioner and any Councillor or staff member without us first giving our permission for any such contact!

I was livid!! Putting to one side for a minute what the individual may or may not have done, what right has the Liberal Democrat led authority to take court action in my name without my authority? Two Liberal Democrat Cllrs gave evidence to the court and yet I and many others were not even aware of the action. When my fellow Independent Cllr colleague Malcolm Mildren asked the Borough Solicitor why he had emailed us after the action and not before? he was told that it was impractical for the council to have done so?

In other words they can  contact us easily after the event by email to tell us what has been done in our name, but not before to check with us if it is OK to use our name in any such action?

I immediately asked for my name to be withdrawn from the injunction. In a bizarre series of events, even though the individual was barred from any contact with Councillors, and with Councillors being asked not to correspond with him in any way shape or form, he still managed to be on the nomination papers of one parliamentary candidate for Northampton North and received personal mail from two Councillors who were also candidates during the election! Cllr Simpson I am told wrote to him on four occasions asking the individual to contact him! Doing so of course would have broken his injunction!

I won't go into details and/or reasons for the action as the case is still in the hands of the court, but I have no problem in giving you my own opinion on the matter which is that whilst some of the Council's concerns may have a modicum of merit and some of the individuals behaviour may have been over the top, I can't help to think that the words sledgehammer and nut come to mind! The individual has contacted me on numerous occasions, I have always replied and he has been grateful for the response. His agitation it seems is with those who do not respond!

You see I have always found that if you communicate and discuss matters truthfuly and honestly with people then even with the most agitated of people, you can usually find common ground and compromise. The use of the court in my mind in such circumstances is a sign of failure of the Council to deal with the matters correctly in the first instance. Not to mention a waste of Council Tax money.

So after the above, imagine my further anger when a constituent from St James contacted me recently to inform me of a letter he had received from the legal team at NBC threatening him also with an injunction if he didn't stop harassing Council staff!! The letter made wild allegations as to the behaviour of the individual and had emanated from a row he had had with the caretaker of a block of flats he resides in. The caretaker had a habit of emptying the bin store outside the tenant's bedroom window at 6am in the morning!! After failing to get any sense from the caretaker himself the resident took the matter up with his housing manager, but the noise nuisance continued. Now I am sure that at some point "words" would have been exchanged. I know if someone kept waking me up at 6am in the morning I might have a few things to say! But again, despite the fault being wholly on the part of the Council, it is the tenant who is threatened with court action by the council.

Now don't get me wrong, where there is threat of violence and or the risk of our staff being attacked or hurt then I would be first to back any action, but I feel that in these two instances (and who knows how many more) that the council have got it badly wrong. If they want people to stop being robust with them then they need to sort out the root cause of their problems. If they want to deal appropriately with any complaint then they need to talk reasonably with the individuals concerned.

Letters threatening court action and indeed court action itself in such circumstances are signs of the Council's weak customer liaison and of the authorities failure to act reasonably in dealing with bona fide complaints.

I therefore want to make it clear here and know that I will resist the Council taking action on my behalf as a Councillor unless they have the courtesy and decency to inform me first as to the reasons for their action and tell me what they have done to date to try to alleviate the problem outside of the court.

At the minute the Council under the stewardship of the Liberal Democrats are the ones in mind who are doing the harrasing, they are the body who are being unreasonable and they are the ones who are acting as the bully, and like most bully's we have to collectively stand up to them in order to show others who may be threatened that they have nothing to fear.


  1. Northampton Borough Council - LEGAL GAG and FASHION RULES

    Last year we were filmed for BBC Current Affairs - a Panorama programme discussing the issues surrounding sheltered housing in the UK. More specifically, the way the warden system has changed since funding regulations were altered in 2003 - we also nationally involved ours selves in supporting the solicitor Yvonne Hossack when local authority’s attempted to have her taken of the register ….on that occasion the national press noted that Ms Hossack’s supporters had shirts with “we love our solicitor” and “beat the bullies” the council have now written to one of the supporters “ We are aware that in the past that you have worn clothing, with the term “bully” written on your shirt or top. Any such clothing worn by you, we will deem this as a breach of the injunction.”

    Norman Adams

  2. Never ceasing to be amazed17 May 2010 at 13:34

    And this was a Liberal Democrat Council! I say was, because they will now presumably be good Tory Boys and Girls, in the hope that some of the 95 or so new Lib Dem life peerages may go their way. Nothing like democratic reform of the "Upper House"!
    Roll on next May when the peril of the yellow will be swept aside

  3. Have I woken up in Thailand?

  4. n.korea more like, its the thin end of the wedge

  5. The same thing happened to a lady in Camden. The Lib Dems who where at the time holding the community safety portfolio used their influence with the police to get this lady arrested and criminally charged with harassment.

    This was to do with a few blogs. She was never contacted with requests to take down any offending material, instead the Lib Dems used one of their members to make false allegations to the police about said woman.

    He and the others involved told a mass of lies under penalty of perjury which the womans legal representative did not challange in court. She didn't stand a change at receiving a fair hearing. Witnesses to her defence where not allowed to speak in court.

    On top of all the lies they told about her, the police illegally entered her, searched around and took her property. She was also held in police custody for 24 hours over an alleged breach of the restraining order. The police are mis-used by the council to intimidate and punish residents who speak out about the council.

    This ladies experience of the courts have left her in no doubt about how corrupted the judiciary is and how easy it is for innocent people to be jailed for crimes they did not commit.

  6. Yvonne Hossack17 May 2010 at 18:35

    Thanks very much to Tony for his comments on this matter. No doubt he will contact those providing legal advice to the people concerned to assist further if he can.

    As a firm we act for many disabled people. We have noted that whilst in many their problems are expressed in weaping and depression, it is certainly true that the outward show of distress, for many, can include aggression.

    Our job often places us at risk from people who can become violent. The best way to avoid or deflect such a situation is how we deal with the client.

    As for the T-shirts these were produced for my Tribunal. I am not aware of any other adverse comments about them. The support of so many of my clients was a light in the darkness.

    Yvonne Hossack

  7. Having seen the personal data of this kind man, it quite clearly states No warden reported aggression, now how many wardens has he been visited by 20/ 30? 40?? i have also read many of his emails, strong and from a tortured heart and caring soul, and not physical but pure passion. This council should be villified for putting him and whom he does his best in il health to defend.

  8. Very interesting post; it was refreshing to see such common sense and a Councillor not afraid to stand up to a litigious council; an attitude sadly lacking in Carmarthenshire County Council. I hope you don't mind but I have linked to this post in the hope that the upper echelons of our local authority have a read and maybe learn something.

  9. the 'back slappers' are back I see ......

  10. now you know how it feels to be one of us!

  11. Why don't you all get a life. Better yet, go out, find a woman and get laid!!!! Pay for it if you have to!!!!

    Life is too short to be moaning about stupid things. Go and have a family and look out for them!!!!!!!!!

  12. "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

    GB Shaw

    Anyhow, I have a life! and a good woman! and I get laid on a regular Basis! (in wedlock I may add) and have no need fo prostitution.

    Life is far too short to simply allow iresponsible fools at the town hall and beyond to spoil it for you and others without fighting back, and I have a wonderful family who look after me!

  13. “There is no use in walking five miles to fish when you can depend on being as unsuccessful near home”


  14. Martin Brighton3 June 2010 at 20:18

    Well said.

    If you think that the LibDem bullying approach is inappropriate in your council, you should see what happens in Sheffield !
    The principle of Control or Destroy applies.
    Anyone who is arbitrarily deemed to be a potential threat - i.e. dares to dissent - is immediately subjected to sanction and prejudice.




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