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Legal Minds

30 November 2015 / by / in

Rebecca Dix of Bivonas Law LLP secures an absolute discharge at Court in a private prosecution case

A local Council fails to secure a penalty against a land owner for a second breach of an Enforcement Notice ordering the demolition of an orangery built on Green Belt land. The building did not have the required planning permission.

The Enforcement Notice issued in 2012 required the land owner to remove the orangery built at the home. After having previously admitted a breach of the Notice in 2014 the landowner continued to maintain the structure during several planning appeals in an effort to secure retrospective permission. When fresh proceedings were issued by the local Council in 2015 by way of a private prosecution Bivonas Law LLP were instructed.

Rebecca Dix was instructed as the advocate in the case. After entering into legal argument administratively with the Council and further evidence being required to be provided, agreement was reached between the parties on the legality of the served Information and Summons.  The client entered a guilty plea and was sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court to an absolute discharge. A sentence that immediately absolves the client from any form of punishment for the offence. The prosecution failed to secure full payment of their legal costs against the client.

A criminal offence is created under Section 179 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for failing to adhere to a planning Enforcement Notice. The case can be heard in either the Magistrates’ Court before a lay bench or in the Crown Court before a judge and jury. The maximum sentence that can be imposed on conviction is an unlimited fine.

 

Rebecca Dix

Rebecca is a senior associate and a practising barrister. She joined the firm having worked in private practice for a Top Tier London set of Chambers where she was instructed as the advocate to both prosecute and defend individuals, companies, and former governments for a range of criminal law offences from breaches of company directors’ disqualification orders to high profile bribery and corruption cases.

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