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.    

3. Dirty tricks. Collusion and conspiracy by all concerned. Canal and River Trust, Shoosmiths and my legal representatives


Written Submissions due to shortened trial 

Once again my input was limited.  I could write notes to give to my solicitor for him to pass to my barrister. Or not.  I don't know what is passed to the barrister and what is withheld.  Again I feel excluded from my own case.    I asked for a meeting but none was arranged. 

Also, the written submissions had to be based upon what had, already, been submitted to the court. My arguments, and my defence, were not presented to the court. A correction to that in the written submissions could be ignored by the Judge. 

What was submitted, by my barrister, in the first written submission was a far better representation of my case and the facts of my illness etc. because he had had the benefit of my notes with the information he would have had from me before the trial if we had had the promised meetings.    Too late to be of much use. (From what was said at a subsequent hearing I don't think the Judge read it. There were details about my illness which the Judge said he wasn't aware of).  

After the written submissions there would be a draft decision. I assumed that after the draft decision there could be further submissions but could not get confirmation of this.  (There was a further submission from my barrister but I only knew after it was submitted). 

Draft Decision  and Final Judgment

I did not receive the final submission from the barrister. The Draft Decision was issued in August.   In favour of CRT but allowing me to remain on the waterways subject to agreement with CRT to be negotiated.  Most details about me were wrong, as expected, for the reasons I have given. I said we should have a meeting about an appeal.  

My emails to the solicitor relating to all of this at this important stage were not answered and I, still, did not receive the final submissions from the barrister.  Eventually, on phoning the office I discovered that my solicitor had retired with one day's notice and had gone to live abroad. 

I wrote to the court explaining this and asking for a suspension of the handing down of the judgment.  I received no reply.  I wrote to the barrister's clerk asking what to do.  I was told to contact my solicitor.  I phoned the solicitors firm and arranged a meeting with another of their solicitors.  At the meeting it was agreed that I would make an internal complaint about my representation and the hearing to hand down the judgment would be vacated.   We would then have a meeting to decide what to do next. 

I submitted the complaint in October. The hearing had been listed for November 22nd. I heard nothing from the solicitor until a week before the hearing date.  I received an email saying that the Judge would not agree to the hearing being vacated, and it would go ahead without any representation for myself as no-one was available.   I asked about the response to my complaint and the meeting we were supposed to have.  I was asked if I wanted to continue with my complaint.  I said I had no choice.  I had been misrepresented in court and all the details about me, my illness and health issues and my boat movements etc. in the draft judgment, were wrong and I had had no response to my emails about amending the judgment and details I wanted to be submitted to the court.   This had to be dealt with before the Judgment was handed down.  We were supposed to have a meeting about the situation but I had heard nothing. 

I received an email saying that as I had made a complaint they could no longer represent me.   I would have to attend the hearing on 22nd November and tell the Judge that I no longer wanted them to represent me.  I agreed to do that.  Again, I had no choice. 

Then, on November 21st, the day before the hearing, I received a phonecall from someone from the solicitor's firm to say that they had been released from representing me and the hearing, the next day, had been cancelled.   He said he was acting on the advice of the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.   I asked what happens next.   He said I would be hearing from them. 

I should have checked with the court but I didn't.  (I was, actually, trying, at the time, to send an email to the court, about the hearing the following day, but my internet connection was so bad it was taking ages). I assumed I was being told the truth.  I wasn't.  

Two weeks later I received the final Judgment and a court order to remove my boat from CRT water by 20th December.  I had been deceived and the Judge had been deceived.  I wrote to the court and sent the relevant emails prior to the hearing.   Only on 18th December did I receive a stay of execution.  Two days before they would have, undoubtedly, come to take my boat as I have no doubt that it was carefully planned to seize my boat, and make me homeless, on the last working day before Christmas  (28 days from the hearing date of 22nd November. Coincidence?)

(On the following day the same CRT 'hit squad', no doubt in celebration, seized the boat of Leslie Horne, on the Macclesfield Canal, leaving her in a distressed state on the towpath.   An intelligent  woman with, apparently, some mental health problems, whose case was running alongside mine at the same court.    She, subsequently, disappeared for several weeks, hasn't got her boat back, or her possessions, and after living in a tent outside Macclesfield Police Station, was then sectioned under the Mental Health Act).

Another hearing was listed for January 31st.   No indication as to what the hearing was about.   My intention was to have the Judgment set aside or, at least, postponed.  Of course, by now I had no legal aid and legal aid was no longer available.  

There is no doubt that there was collusion between my solicitors and CRT and Shoosmiths.  My solicitors were released from my representation.   I don't know what was said.   The hearing to hand down the Judgment went ahead without me.   I don't know what was said.   Presumably it was intended that I would be without legal aid on the day the Judgment was handed down and CRT could apply for costs.    That's exactly what they did and were awarded court costs of £80,000.    Further costs to be decided.

 (I, subsequently, applied to the court for the transcripts of the two hearings that I was prevented from attending.   The court gave permission but the tapes were not sent to the transcribers  after two requests).

(Since then I have received the transcript of the hearing to hand down the judgment.    See article about transcripts under heading 'Cogs in the Machine'.   Important information about court transcripts in general).