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.    

Another triumph for the Canal and River Trust/Tyranny

Handing down the Judgment - again

There was clear evidence of deception and perverting the course of justice and collusion between the two parties which, I assumed, was what the hearing on 31st January would be about.  I wrote a submission for the hearing detailing that, and other, 'misconduct'.

The hearing was not about that. All that was ignored as if it didn't happen.  My solicitors, and barrister, had chosen not to comment as they were 'professionally embarrassed'. This was a hearing to hand down the Judgment from this date.  I had 3 weeks to appeal. The Judge would not, himself, give me leave to appeal.  I had no representation, was a litigant in person and had to re-apply for legal aid when the rules had been changed and there are no civil legal aid solicitors in the whole of Cheshire, Manchester and Liverpool.  All this in 3 weeks.

I asked the Judge several questions about the right to seize my boat and the agreement to leave me alone if I arranged a mooring. I intended to get a transcript of the hearing to help clarify what CRT can and can't do and were instructed to do by the Court. No-one seems sure about the extent of their rights to take a person's boat and, of course, they do what they like anyway. The Judge said they could not 'seize' my boat, only 'remove it from the waterways'. They could not remove me from my boat. The boat remained in my possession. The CRT barrister confirmed that the boat remained in my possession. They, therefore, have a duty of care until they either sell my boat or I recover it. 

The Judge made Shoosmiths' barrister confirm that they had made an undertaking that I could stay on the canal if we could come to an agreement which would mostly require me to arrange a mooring. He was very reluctant but the Judge insisted.  (I have the transcript of the hearing.)

The hearing was, mostly, a conversation between myself and the Judge. Difficult for me to take notes. Impossible to remember, accurately, everything that was said and, yet, an accurate record of what was said was essential to any agreement between me and CRT. The transcript was required for our negotiations

I obtained a transcript of the hearing (£250) which I received in mid March. Essential to any discussion/negotiation as instructed by the court but Shoosmiths said they didn't care what was in the transcript.       

The Judge had, actually, said that I should apply to the Court of Appeal for a 'stay of execution' as the first resort. I hadn't realised that but, had I done so, it would have taken up the whole 3 weeks and, if refused, would have left me in a difficult situation. Not a reasonable option, especially in the light of the obvious deception I had been a victim of, as well as the unreasonable, and disproportionate, penalty for what was, essentially, a disputed 'parking' offence involving a wrongly, and unreasonably, issued 'ticket'.  What kind of offence would you have to commit to have your home, and your possessions, taken from you, by force, leaving you homeless and, probably, traumatised when no debt was owed on your property and you were not causing any 'nuisance' or 'obstruction'?

I couldn't get legal aid for various reasons, including a change in the rules. I had a judgment against me despite several instances of 'abuse of process' and other 'irregularities'.  So much for the legal process. More evidence of how CRT get away with anything and can, as they boast, do what they like.

I had to,somehow, arrange a mooring although there were no 'legitimate' moorings and, actually' no genuinely available moorings. I had to get a 'grey area' 'mooring arrangement'. And this by order of the court. I.e. I had to do something that was, strictly speaking, illegal and that CRT were, deliberately, vague about - by order of the court.  (The Judge was trying to give me a 'way out' but was also giving the, obvious, malicious, unreasonable and dishonest behaviour of CRT and Shoosmiths, the 'benefit of the doubt'.  He had, also, not been presented with all the facts, or the most pertinent facts, of the case in court. He had a difficult job and, arguably, did his best).  As the Judge said he can only deal with what is set before him and therein lies a major problem, particularly, when represented by agents who mislead you and present a different argument. Someone was in contact with my barrister and advising him, without my knowledge or consent, to present their own arguments in my case.      

CRT's barrister, Christopher Moss, argued in the written submissions that such 'ghost moorings' were not what was intended in the 1995 Waterways Act. I had said that we shouldn't be forced into such a remedy in my witness statement (which the Judge said he hadn't read).   

I had no choice but at the same time CRT were looking for someone to take to court to challenge his use of his 'mooring'. They weren't going to let me get away with what I was advised to do by the court, and they gave an undertaking to agree to, namely negotiate a mooring that I need never use. (I believe this was the reason for the claim against Tony Dunkley).

One way or another, by order of Sally Ash and others, I was to be forced off the waterways, as an example to others, because I had challenged them and was seen to be challenging them, and they had no answer to my challenges (the Ombudsman refused to answer my main complaint which led to the legal action as it involved legal arguments.  I was told I would have to take them to court.  They know none of us can afford to do that). They still don't answer my FOI requests or other letters I have sent them). They are, and are allowed to be, a 'law unto themselves'.

This is what happens if you persist in your complaint rather than give up or leave the waterways.  I wasn't prepared to do that.  Most people do and who can blame them.   

Hundreds of people have been driven from the waterways. You don't hear about them, only the few prepared to challenge them. I am now in a position to expose what they do but I can't make anyone take any notice. It depends how much you are prepared to be bullied and allow others to be bullied.

Interestingly, one of the main reasons for creating the 1995 Waterways Act was the problem of the number of boats permanently moored in London without a 'legitimate' mooring. As the enforcement arising from the varying interpretations of the 1995 Act became more unreasonable and draconian many people who had had no problems with BW and were now having their freedom of movement prescribed by the requirement of the continuous journey in one direction nonsense sold their boats and left the canal.  Most of these boats ended up in London where certain local authorities pay to rent a boat plus moorings and some other related costs.  

So the result of BW/CRT's costly and destructive 'enforcement' action is to remove 'boaters' who travel the canals in a sensible and reasonable way and, rightly, resent unwarranted harassment and intrusion into their way of life and increase the number of 'squatters' and other 'subculturals' in London.  My boat would have ended up there if it hadn't been damaged and sunk. Consequently, I'm thankful it sunk.