Testimonial

An account of the abuse of people living on boats on the waterways by the Canal and River Trust, previously British Waterways.   Then a Public Authority, now part Public Body, part Charity.   In receipt of public funds and public donations.  The account is based around the story of me and my boat Pearl, a converted Thomas Clayton tar boat built 1935.  It's not about me it's about them and their deliberate persecution of people, particularly 'vulnerable' people, who live on boats, and those who collude with them for their own selfish interests, and those authorities that allow them to get away with it.     

You don't have to live on a boat to find it alarming.    

Extract 3. From Complaints Procedure. The Human Rights Act.

 

And now.

The Human Rights Act of 1998

The Human Rights Act exists to prevent people from being abused. The Act requires public authorities to act compatibly with the Convention ( European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ) .

It is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with a Convention right unless it is required to do so by primary legislation which cannot be interpreted compatibly with the Convention. The Act requires that all primary and subordinate legislation be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with Convention rights, so far as is possible, and whether the legislation in question was enacted before or after the Human Rights Act 1998. British

Waterways is a public authority. A court is a public authority. A court is obliged to decide all cases before it compatibly with Convention rights.


There is an 'interpretative obligation' on a court to interpret statutory provisions and the common law compatibly with the Convention rights wherever possible and without regard to other ( possibly more literal ) interpretations or precedents to the contrary.

If a public authority does not frame its legislation, primary and subordinate, in a way that is compliant with the Convention then the courts ( as public authorities themselves ) must find a reading of the legislation which permits the public authority to comply with the Convention rights.

Failure to comply with the Human Rights Act allows the victim of such ' abuse ' to bring proceedings against the public authority under the Human Rights Act for breach of statutory duty. This is also a defence in proceeding that a public authority might bring against a private individual.

Are the 'rules' and the 'enforcement of the rules' and the general behaviour / attitude of British Waterways in compliance with the rights of the Convention? They are a public authority. They employ lots of people at great expense. They have a legal department. They like to push people around and threaten them with legal action. Surely they know what they're doing......


Article 8: Right to respect for private and family life.

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The European Court of Human Rights has held that the primary function of Article 8 is in the protection of the individual from arbitrary action / interference by public authorities. ( Rulings by the European Court of Human Rights must be taken into account by in all cases before a court in this country ).

The concept of 'private life' has been ruled to include 'the right to develop one's own personality as well as one's right to create and develop relationships with others'.

How does one create and develop relationships with others when one is compelled to be on a continuous, never ending journey around a waterways network under threat of legal action should one falter in one's endeavour and constrained with regard to length of stay in any one place and direction of travel ?

How does one develop one's personality when one has subordinated one's free will to the dictates of a set of absurd rules devised for no useful purpose other that to 'punish' one for not having a mooring that one doesn't want or require in the first place ?

How does one develop one's personality when one must accept the status of a 'pariah' imposed on one by the active and 'positive' actions of the public authority that has devised the said rules ?

How does one pursue any kind of 'family life' under these constraints ? When would one see members of ones family who were not on one's boat with one ? Only when one was passing by on the particular leg of one's journey that was close by ? When one lives on a boat and travels around one probably doesn't have a car.

[NOTE: You can see the mood I was in, of frustration that I have to explain to a Public Authority how they should treat people and that they shouldn't deliberately, knowingly and wilfully, abuse people.]

Regarding the recent events of the patrolling and issuing of enforcement notices just before Christmas. How does that accord with the right to family life ? Everyone else is preparing for what is, essentially, a ' family festival ' and we are threatened with legal action if we don't 'move on' We are told to move ourselves, and our 'home', and 'continue our journey' Strict adherence to these rules would also mean that we couldn't even spend time with one another as our 'progressive' journeys would be taking us in different directions. We would be condemned to spending Christmas alone far away from friends and family.

 

How about the fact that in seven days time you, British Waterways, intend to revoke my licence and initiate eviction proceedings - from my own home - on the strength of my breach of, and challenge to, these 'unlawful' rules?

The right to respect for private and family life has both negative and positive connotations. Not just that the public authority must refrain from interference but also that it has an 'obligation to provide for an effective respect for private and family life'. In other words not only must the authority, British Waterways, not, inadvertently, violate my private and family life it must also prevent others, in the domain of it's authority, from so doing.

What it actually does is actively and positively violate my private and family life, and encourage others so to do, through an expensively administered, programme of persecution.

By making the only licence available for a person living on a boat, and intending to move around as could reasonably be expected in a, supposedly, free and democratic society, a 'continuous cruising' licence subject to the 'rules' of continuous cruising, a person is compelled to tacitly agree to the said rules. These unreasonably imposed rules seriously inhibit and restrict that persons right to respect for private and family life. They are enforced through harassment, intimidation and threats of 'legal' action. They are themselves unlawful. Evidence of this has been provided in the foregoing account of the various examples of abuse. British Waterways are guilty of 'criminal' abuse.

Article 14: Prohibition on discrimination.

The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

The grounds on which discrimination is prohibited are wider than specified in Article 14. They are only examples. There is a broad interpretation of the phrase 'or other status'. People within a recognisable group of people in a broadly analagous situation, i.e. pursuing a similar activity, who are singled out as a separate group for the purpose of differential treatment that can be regarded as discriminatory, are included in the Act. People who live on boats and pursue what can reasonably be regarded as the accepted purpose of living on a boat, i.e. they move about as they wish and they stop where they wish and when they wish, are discriminated against in relation to people who choose to live on a mooring and those who choose not to live on their boats and, therefore, need to keep them on a mooring.

This discrimination is enshrined in a set of rules devised specifically for that purpose. As above, these rules are in breach of the rights of the Convention, Articles 8 and 14, and are therefore unlawful. This 'group' actually consists of separate individuals with no relation to one another other than as being regarded as a distinct group for the purpose of discrimination and persecution. This 'abuse' has been practiced for about 12 years now despite considerable and constant opposition. British Waterways, in their arrogance and their ignorance, are not remotely concerned with the interests of people living on boats and are constantly raising the level of harassment and abuse to appease the active lobby groups of boat clubs and hire boat operators whose use of the canals is in no way related to a 'way of life' on the waterways which we, as a disparate group, pursue and which is threatened by this unlawful abuse. I would suggest that those of us who pursue that 'way of life' be regarded as a distinct group that be further subject to the protection of the Human Rights Act.

As above, in actively and positively initiating and promoting the abuse under Article 14, British Waterways are guilty of criminal abuse.


Protocol 1, Article 1 : Protection of property

Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law. The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to conrol the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.


My boat is my 'possession'. It is also my 'home'. I live on my boat. I live on my boat on the waterways and pay a licence. I quite reasonably and lawfully wish to live my life, and enjoy my possessions in accordance with the rights and freedoms of a just and democratic society. The rules devised by British Waterways based on an interpretation of the 1995 Waterways Act do not allow me to do that. BW harass, intimidate, threaten and persecute me for attempting to do that and seek to take legal action against me to deprive me of my possessions and, accordingly, my home. When being subject to the aforementioned persecution based on the imposition of unlawful rules and being, as a consequence, accorded the status of a 'pariah', it is not possible for me to 'peacefully enjoy my possessions'.

I am currently writing what you are now reading. I have written numerous letters and had several meetings as well as being constantly victimised. The attitude and systematised abuse of BW towards us, the canal 'community', is the main topic of conversation on the canals. I cannot possibly 'peacefully enjoy my possessions' under these circumstances.

As in the previous instances the public authority, British Waterways, is not just failing to prevent this abuse of my legal entitlement but has actually initiated it, and vigorously enforces it, using the threat of eviction and depriving me of my possessions and, accordingly, my home.

Once again 'criminal abuse'.


Regarding the rules, and enforcement thereof, under the Human Rights Act there is a consideration of proportionality between the means employed and the aim pursued. The 'aim pursued' at the present time is to force people into marinas to pay rent for moorings they neither want nor need. I.e. to extort money from people. The 'means employed' are, as stated above, 'unlawful' to the degree that they are 'criminal'

British Waterways are, essentially, guilty of 'demanding money with menaces'.

 

The people involved in this abuse consist, almost entirely, of women. None of them, in my experience, know anything about boats, canals, the waterways 'way of life', the legal status of their actions, or, clearly, how to behave as a decent human being. They should never have been employed in the first place and no responsible organisation would have done so.

However, we are speaking here of another publicly funded, so - called, 'authority' that, apparently, practices the self destructive and grossly unreasonable and unfair policy of 'positive discrimination' . In other words, employs people who know nothing about the 'job' but, because they are women, they are employed to achieve more stupid targets, devised by other wrongly appointed women, who also 'know not what they do' but have been promoted to their position by the application of the same absurd policy.

One such woman is Sally Ash who, as far as I am aware, is the person mainly responsible for the unlawful and criminal fiasco as reported above as well as other 'abuses' through her developing the pseudo-extortionate, much hated idea of 'moorings auctions' I believe that for some time she has had two written warnings. Nonetheless it would appear that she is now 'Head of Boating Development'

Once again : You couldn't make it up.

Might I refer you to the well known, and entirely appropriate, expression when applied to these over - promoted women as well as to the over promoted, in a PR sense, pseudo corporate entity that is British Waterways.

You can put lipstick on a pig

But it's still a pig.

 

That is the end of the first letter in the Complaints Procedure the second stage.  

So you have the rules.   I maintain the 'progressive' journey is unlawful.  In 2010 (Paul Davies case) it was found to be unlawful.   Sally Ash admitted it was unlawful.   There was an updated version of the rules.

The enforcement.    Draconian and threatening enforcement based on unlawful rules is harassment, which is criminal.

The Human Rights Act.   Obvious breaches.  In my case the Human Rights Act was deemed not applicable as CRT were not a Public Authority.     The events leading to the legal action, and the initial court hearings, took place when CRT was BW and a Public Authority.       I had no opportunity to correct this as I was denied, by deception, the opportunity to amend the Draft Judgment.