In a dramatic turn of events, a High Court Judge has granted leave to appeal to the No To Bike Parking Tax Campaign after it’s previous defeat in the high court against Westminster City Council regarding the parking charges introduced for motorbikes and scooters in the borough.
The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Jackson went firmly against an earlier ruling by Lord Justice Pitchford that the campaign had no grounds to appeal, and ruled that 6 of the 7 original grounds could be argued. He also disagreed with Lord Pitchford on the issue of ‘reasonable grounds of success’, making clear that there was a case to answer.
In a bizarre and unprecedented departure from convention, Peter Large, WCC’s head of Legal Services, telephoned and sent a letter to the Courts on 6th September 2010 requesting Lord Justice Pitchford as the appeal judge, despite his being the original judge on the case.
Warren Djanogly, Chairman of the Campaign, said, “This letter shows the utter desperation of Westminster Council, and it’s blatant attempts to influence the Court. You could not find a better or more ludicrous example of how far they will go to avoid a re-trial, because they know the original judgement is flawed.’
Charlie Lort-Phillips added, “For the Council to try and tell the court who can or cannot make a judgement is appalling for Mr Large to have the temerity to suggest that Lord Justice Pitchford is the only judge in the High Court capable of understanding the case is ill-befitting a practitioner of law.’
Campaigners raised concerns over the judgement of Lord Justice Pitchford from the outset, with many telling how the case culminated in his mumbled delivery of the judgement which ‘lacked any courage of conviction, matched only by his lack of courage to look any of the applicants in the eye’, before leaving the room despite having other judgements to hand down
Others told of his ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ nature during court proceedings. On day one he appeared to be so in agreement with the Campaign’s lawyer, and so dismissive of WCC’s Counsel, that an end of day private meeting descended into ‘a screaming match’ between her & WCC staff, overheard by many still leaving the court.
A date for the appeal has not yet been set.