A woman labelled "potentially violent" after she complained to a Berkshire council about a vandalised flowerbed is suing the authority for libel.It seems the lady in question saw some anti-social behaviour, and sought to do something about it, instead of walking on by, as so often happens, and letting her local area descend even further:
Ms Clift told the jury that the child was uprooting plants, pulling the heads off flowers and "squashing everything".Ahh, the buck passing we’ve all come to expect these days…
She said: "I noted there were adults in the park but no-one seemed to be supervising him."
She approached five adults on a bench but when one of the men became abusive she called the police, who advised her to contact the council.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Ms Clift, said the authority's anti-social behaviour co-ordinator Fozia Rashid was "very dismissive" and said criminal damage was a matter for the police.Hang on, I thought we were all encouraged to report anti-social behaviour?
He said Ms Clift was told that she had been provocative and should have left the area.
Certainly, the council-sponsored ’Proud To Be Slough’ campaign would like to encourage the perception of the town as ‘a town that is active, inclusive and safe; well run; environmentally sensitive; well designed and built; well connected; thriving; well served and fair for everyone’.
Difficult to achieve if no-one takes reports of ASB seriously, you’d have thought.
When she complained about Ms Rashid's attitude, she said that as far as she was concerned Ms Rashid could "drop down dead" and followed the matter up with a letter.Instead of reading this as her way of saying ‘This officer’s attitude would have made Ghandi reach for a weapon…’, the council read it as ‘VIOLENCE!! THREAT!! OMG!!!’ and promptly took action to prevent themselves ever having to read sarky letters about their staff from the people who pay their wages:
Ms Clift wrote: "I felt so affronted and so filled with anger that I am certain I would have physically attacked her if she had been anywhere near me.
"I truly am not of that nature and so, surely, this should act as a wake up call to the borough as to the capacity she has for offending people."
Patrick Kelleher, the council's head of public protection, then told Ms Clift that a marker would be placed against her name for 18 months as a result of her allegedly "violent and threatening behaviour".Note: not actually proven ‘violent and threatening behaviour’, just the councils’
perception of such…
Isn’t it fun when you get to make up the rules that the sheep who have to pay for your index-linked public service pension must live by?
Ms Clift brought her claim against the council and Mr Kelleher on the basis that she was libelled by the entry of her name on the council's Violent Persons Register and by an email sent to a large number of people informing them of this.I’d be intrigued to know exactly who that ‘large number of people’ to receive the email would potentially be…
And I wish her luck with her court case. If the council loses, the costs should come out of Fozia Rashid’s wages.