Of Superglue and Residence

A prosecution under s.144 LASPO that came unstuck*

R v D Duputell 31 October 2013 Hove Trial Centre [Newspaper report]

This was the retrial of Mr Duputell after his earlier trial on charges of breach of s.144 LASPO together with two other co-defendants resulted in the cases against them being thrown out.

Mr D had been arrested in what I understand to be a former (empty) pub in Hove. The prosecution was brought on the basis of s.144, (1) of which provides:

(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)the person is in a residential building as a trespasser having entered it as a trespasser,
(b)the person knows or

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Phoenix from the flames

There was an interesting case-note on Lawtel this week which I suspect most of you saw. The case was LB Enfield v Phoenix and others, High Ct, March 19, 2013, and seemed to concern the circumstances in which a possession claim can properly be issued in the High Court. I have been provided with a note of judgment and so can give you a bit more detail.

Imagine, if you will, that a large number of the good people of North London are, to put it mildly, somewhat dissatisfied with the Tory/Lib Dem cuts to public expenditure (a view, I should add, which is plainly shared by all right-thinkingRead the full post

Haigh, Squatting is Now Illegal

The Evening Standard is reporting the sentencing of the first person under the new anti-squatting provisions in the LASPO Act.

Alex Haigh received 12 weeks in prison. Unfortunately Mr Haigh appeared to be unaware that squatting was now an offence and admitted to Police that he was a squatter.

I am not going to repeat the various comments we have made about this legislation and its implementation. The most recent post on the topic is here.

I am also not going to comment on the Standard article except to highlight this phrase from the article:

The law was brought in amid a squatting crisis in London as organised eastern

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Squatting: The MoJ Guide

We have had a lot to say about squatting. In fact those of you who are quick may even be able to see one of the authors of the blog on television talking about it today!
With the new legislation criminalising squatting due to come into force at the weekend (presumably to catch out those sunday morning squatters!) the Ministry of Justice has issued a circular to Judges, Courts, and the Police.
The circular starts with a statement that the new legislation will “protect owners .. of any type of residential building.” This of course ignores he point that they were already protected.
The circular makes clear that the new … Read the full post

The cost of criminalising trespass

The Government’s proposal to criminalise trespass to residential property, contained in LASPO at clause 136, is due to be considered at report stage in the House of Lords tomorrow (Tuesday 20 March). The Government’s estimate of additional costs arising from the proposal is £25 million over 5 years.

SQUASH have obtained a report on the likely costs of the proposal, highlighting the shortcomings of the MoJ’s costings. The research takes into account knock on costs to other Departments and to Local Authorities. It outlines a range of scenarios that may result from the criminalisation and estimates the likely costs at between £316 million and £790 million.

The Guardian has further Read the full post

Don’t squash my musical ambitions, dude

Just for a little bit of Friday fun, I bring you the news that friend of the blog Mike Weatherley MP has apparently joined forces with a well known chain of coffee houses to create a competition called ‘Rock The House’. The competition is aimed at unsigned bands and one of the prizes will be to play a live set at the House of Commons. The mind boggles, but details (complete with a quote from “Nietzche” (sic)), if that’s your bag, are here.

It seems fairly obvious to me that this will be a great opportunity for the blog’s nascent house band, The Naughty Steppers, to unleash … Read the full post

Forward to the 18th Century!

Monstrous Craws at a new Coalition Feast
The Coalition’s proposed legislation this week has a marvellously retro feel to it. Sniff the air. Through the whiff of horse dung and open sewers, you can tell we are back in the days of Queen Anne and not solely because the lawfulness of the catholicity of a Monarch’s spouse was an issue deemed worth revisiting.

The Observer noted that a debate in the Lords on the Welfare Reform Bill gave rise to the prospect of the return of the window tax.  The glorious proposals to cut the benefits of under-occupiers, so that they have to find a less commodious garrett, gives rise to the question of what constitutes … Read the full post

Squatting- A Reply to Mike Weatherley MP

The debate on squatting has become highly polarised and increasingly bad tempered. Mr Weatherley’s salvo is merely the latest in a range of unhelpful comments that make for good newspaper sales but achieve little. It falls to me to open the NL team’s reply.

In fairness to Mr Weatherley squatters sometimes fail to do themselves any favours. It is hard to find sympathy for those who gloat in the media about the places they have managed to live in for free. However, the media portrayal of squatters as unwashed freeloading hippies or trainee rioters is grossly inaccurate.

I have spent many years dealing with squatters. Mostly, in fact, for the … Read the full post