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.    




If you want an accurate account of what was said at a hearing you need a transcript.    You can't remember everything that was said  - certainly not with the accuracy you need if what was said is crucial to an outcome from the hearing, such as, a court order - and it may be needed for a subsequent hearing.     

It's an important, and vital, legal document.

I requested a hearing in 2014, January, after I had been misled/deceived with regard to the hearing to hand down the judgment in my case in November 2013. I had been told, by the solicitors firm representing me that the hearing had been cancelled following their release from my representation.   (I had concerns about my representation, was told to write them in the form of a complaint and we would have the hearing [to hand down the judgment] vacated/cancelled and discuss what to do next, there was no discussion, the hearing was not cancelled, they requested release from my representation the day before the hearing).  

I then was issued with a court order 2 weeks later for CRT to take my boat on the last working day before Christmas (coincidence?) and, by sending numerous emails to the judge obtained a stay of execution with 2 days to spare.     I then arranged another hearing to have the judgment set aside as a result of the deception and other 'irregularities' and abuse of process.

At that hearing the judgment was handed down again from that date and I had three weeks to request, and obtain, a stay of execution from the Appeal Court pending an appeal.    I asked the Judge a lot of questions about the right of CRT to take someone's boat and what was the legal procedure and,also, got an undertaking, by CRT, to the court to negotiate with me a way I could remain on the canal, such as, by taking a mooring (the court had been told there were 9 moorings available to me. There weren't).   

As much was said of importance to the execution of the court order and the legal rights of CRT in taking a person's boat, and details of the undertaking etc., I needed to study a transcript of the hearing.

Initially I was going to seek leave to appeal but realised it was impractical as I couldn't get legal aid and would be stuck with (inflated) costs which so far I had not incurred.    I, therefore requested a transcript from the court to be sent to a transcriber as is the process.  I think it was about 3 weeks before I received it.   

CRT would not negotiate or discuss a solution and I had to deal with Shoosmiths.    I said we needed the transcript. They said they don't care what's in the transcript.   I was under threat and denied the obvious necessity of accessing the transcript to clarify and confirm what was said at the hearing.

Anyway, as written elsewhere, they unlawfully seized my boat and, knowingly and wilfully, sunk it in deep water on the Sharpness Canal (it was only held up by ropes).

(The police and bailiffs were, also,not interested in what was in the transcript - the undertaking to the court to negotiate to allow me to stay on the waterways by some means, such as, obtaining a mooring.    My last email to CRT's solicitors, Shoosmiths, requested a mooring where I was moored, and had been told to remain for four years when my licence was revoked, and a request for my licence to be reinstated.     They, laughingly, said they weren't interested as these details were not on the court order.   An obvious 'set-up' based on what is, essentially, a loophole.   An undertaking to the court, which has the same force as a court order, is blatantly ignored as it's not written on the court order.    They proceed with the court order intending to put you in a difficult position with regard to challenging the action.    I.e you are standing on a towpath with your cat.    They hope to have seized all your paperwork along with the boat but I had stored it all elsewhere as I expected some kind of attack.  And, there is evidence that they expected, and intended,  my boat to sink when it was craned back in the water [72ft wooden boat], so all my possessions would have gone down with it).

I received the transcript of the hearing in mid march.  It cost about £250.  It was noted by the transcriber that it was transcribed from a poor recording.   One very important comment by the Judge, relating to their agreeing to the undertaking, was ascribed to me.

I also requested the tapes from the hearing to release my representatives from my representation and the hearing to hand down the judgment.    Permission was granted by the court.   The transcribers didn't receive them so asked me to request the tracking number.  I was given a number.    They asked me to ask who had signed for the tapes.    Answer - no-one had signed for the tapes.

This year I requested, from a different transcriber, the witness evidence of the BW/CRT employees, Jill Overum and Helen Waterman.  The transcript arrived, again noted as being transcribed from a poor recording.      I asked them why it was a poor recording.  Could they request a better recording.   I assumed they made a copy of the original recording to send to the transcriber.    

They contacted the court and the response was as follows:- 

''The court have contacted us to advise that they do not have a further /better copy of the recording that they could send us as they make the recordings in court as it is happening and we have the original recordings.''

My response (to the transcriber):-

 ''Thanks for that.

 So, is this what they're saying (I have had no response from them).

 They record the hearing on a tape.   Is it a cassette tape?

 They don't check the recording as they are making it.

 When a transcript is requested they send the original tape.    The only recording.

 If that tape is lost or damaged they have lost the only recording.    

 If anyone else requests the recording they have to wait for the tape to be returned.

 I, previously, requested two transcripts.    They said they had sent the tapes.  They were not  received by the transcribers who asked me to get the tracking number.    I received a tracking number.      The transcribers asked me to ask who had signed for the delivery of the tapes.     The court office said no-one had signed for the tapes.     

 Does that mean, assuming the tapes were sent, that the tapes are lost - the original tapes with no copies?    They sent no further tapes to the transcribers who, I am told had requested them.    I subsequently cancelled my request but may make the request again.

 A previous recording I received was, also, noted, by the transcriber, to be a poor recording.  

 Is this, really, how they operate?    I find it unbelievable.   It's, obviously, a serious breach of their duties and obligations and an abuse of the legal process.

 If the transcription is used in a subsequent court hearing and is noted as 'a poor recording' is it still considered to be valid evidence?

 Am I right?     Have you had this problem before?    



 Extract from the email from the court to the transcriber;-

''.....I can confirm there is only one copy of the recording in existence as hearings are recorded directly onto cassette at the time of the hearing. Unfortunately we do not have the facility to burn further copies of recordings.''

From the transcriber:-

''We do have this issue with other courts as well.  There are myriad reasons as to why a recording would be of poor quality; interference, unknown fault, poor quality cassette etc.''

We know that solicitors use every trick in the book on behalf of their client, and against the other party, and we know that that is perfectly acceptable to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Certain solicitors 'specialise' in such 'trickery'.

If a solicitor knows the other party will request the transcript, and it is in his interest to do so, what is to stop that solicitor from requesting the tape and 'accidentally' losing it or damaging it?

Or maybe they don't have to bother with that.  Maybe they can get 'the court' or, more precisely, their acquaintances in the court, to not send the tape or lose the tape.

I emailed the court to get further information on the transcription process.    I sent two emails and received no reply. Same response as BW/CRT to questions they don't want to answer.  The person seeking information, asking questions and challenging their accepted practices quickly becomes a 'nuisance' and a 'problem'.     And a target.       We're 'civilians'.    We're not in the 'club'.  Same old story.  (Equally applied to the waterways and boat clubs against 'liveaboard' boaters).

I sent emails to the court to ask if they had the recordings of the hearings where my representatives were released from my representation and the hearing to hand down the judgment.     No reply.

I formally requested the recordings to be sent to the transcriber as is the procedure.

The transcriber received the recording of the hearing to hand down the judgment.   They said that was the only hearing.       Previously they claim to have sent two recordings, one for each hearing.

The transcript of the hearing to hand down the judgement is noted as:-

''.....of very poor quality and both the Judge and counsel were barely audible.   We have, therefore, used our best efforts to transcribe what was said.     Please also note the hearing was already underway when recording was started''. 

These are all important hearings.   They may be used in further cases.  They are official legal documents.  

Just exactly what part of the legal process can be relied on and what part is not open to corruption/manipulation.      Who benefits from the procedures, processes and protocols inherent in the legal process?     Certainly not the 'civilian' in the process, whether plaintiff or defendant.     

Who, or what , is served?    Certainly not the cause of Justice   

We pay thousands for this, or as is mostly the case, have no access to the process.

One day, probably about 5 hours if no interruptions, in the County Court, costs £10,000.

And everbody gets paid except for you.

These transcripts cost me about £750. 

This is why CRT, and other organisations 'up to no good' refuse to discuss serious issues relating to their 'behaviour' - such as unlawful 'enforcement' practices - but insist on using the court process which most people can't access and which is institutionally 'flawed'to say the least.

Read it.  Print it.  Pass it round.  Educate the 'non-believers'.