Tony Barnett Not Guilty
A two-day trial was indicated for one allegation of a breach of a restraining order from 23 May 2011.
The Prosecution barrister, Mr Crook, tried to avoid the possibility of a two day trial and the potential resources of a jury by speaking with Tony Barnett a few minutes before the court convened to ask if he would abide by the injunction and not to breach it again.
Mr Crook took the view that the court should be lenient due to Mr Barnett’s age and infirmity, as he saw it, but this could also be seen as heading off due process.
Mr Crook and Judge Barry both agreed that ownership of ‘Prees Heath Common’ was not the issue here.
Mr Crook appealed to the court that as it was nearly a full year on with no further incursions into the area in question and that Mr Barnett had accepted he had broken the injunction and was aware of the restraining order that this obviated the need for a 2 day hearing.
Mr Crook emphasised that Mr Barnett was a man of his word, he was not a well man, he was not taking an oppressive stance
Mr Crook emphasised that Mr Barnett was a man of his word, he was not a well man, he was not taking an oppressive stance and that Mr Crook understood Mr Barnett’s point of view and wanted to strike a conciliatory balance. He had no appetite to take a man of his age and health to prison.
HHJ Barry asked if there would be any further trouble.
Mr Barnett said no. He also said he had no will to compromise nor did he feel he was in a position to compromise.
Mr Barnett explained that Whitchurch Heath Common was purchased under the name of Prees Heath Common which does not exist. Mr Barnett had fought Stephen Lewis (Butterfly Conservation) over the open access on Whitchurch Heath Common before the 2006 Commons Act.
He reminded the Court that HH Judge Mitchell had acknowledged the right to delete unlawful obstructions and that is what Mr Barnett had done.
Mr Barnett did not approve of Judge Barry’s summing up and wished the matter to be heard in the High Court in London.
Mr Barnett brought to the attention of the Court Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights Act explaining that he felt he would not get a fair hearing in this court or in this county. He would not be entering into any compromise.
Previously, Judge Mitchell mentioned Section 41 of 2006 Commons Act. Mr Barnett requested that an order be made under Section 41 to remove the fencing and restore the land.
Mr Barnett said Stephen Lewis made the application and not Butterfly Conservation. Mr Lewis would need to supply full documentation to solicitors to disclose to show they have title over the land. Mr Barnett explained that Whitchurch Heath Common was registered in 1965 as a section 9 within the Commons Registration Act 1965, being unowned. Prees Heath being an AKA. Mr Barnett had registered Prees Heath in his name for the people of Shropshire.
Mr Barnett reiterated that he did not wish to be part of this trial as the judge would necessarily make a biased judgement.
Mr Barnett reiterated that he did not wish to be part of this trial as the judge would necessarily make a biased judgement. Mr Barnett said again that he was a man of his word and again referred to Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
Judge Barry considered that this was an appropriate court and that any decision would be made by a jury and not by the judge.
Judge Barry referred to the restraining order indicated by a boundary on a map as illustrated in the order of the court. Any issues of title or order were not relevant, said the Judge.
Mr Barnett explained that the map was a fraudulent forged document. The court would need to look at plans as far back as you want to go. It does not bear a grid reference or map reference. Correct maps needed to be presented to the court to show the true identity of the land in question.
Mr Barnett said he did not understand where the place mentioned is located. He does not recognise it.
Mr Barnett mentioned he goes over Whitchurch Heath Common on occasion to visit Margaret Paskin, a neighbour, at Green Lane Farm. The access designated by Stephen Lewis is uninsured.
Mr Barnett challenged the court to make the order for fulldisclosure from Stephen Lewis. He explained that he would let the jury know they were there under false pretences or false representation
Mr Barnett challenged the court to make the order for full disclosure from Stephen Lewis. He explained that he would let the jury know they were there under false pretences or false representation. The court needed to issue the jury with the correct plan. The jury needed proper documentation.
Judge Barry answered that all questions of ownership are completely immaterial. All he wanted to know was if Mr Barnett has reasonable excuse for being inside that boundary. Other issues have no relevance.
Mr Crook suggests that Mr Barnett would not involuntarily admit any wrongdoing. It is simply expedient to ask Mr Barnett not to come within an area beyond the boundary and that Mr Barnett seemed to agree to that at interview.
Mr Barnett said ‘I stand firm. I have not been on Prees Heath Common’.
Judge to Crook – You have great common sense, you have my support.
Break for lunch. If no accommodation found with Mr Crook, Mr Barnett will be before a jury.
During the discussion between Mr Crook and Mr Barnett through lunch it was agreed that Mr Barnett would take his case to the Land Registry court. There would be no compromise on Mr Barnett’s part.
Back in court, Mr Crook said that Mr Barnett had been candid and he had been in the area in question. He gave his word to observe the injunction and Judge Barry ruled Mr Barnett be bound over for 2 years to keep the peace plus the sum of £200. This to be forfeited in any breach.
Mr Crook summarised that Mr Barnett agreed he would be faithful to the order., he understood that views on ownership could not be pursued in this court.
Orange marked perimeter – different forum – properly being pursued. Man of word, freely given. A trial here would not best serve the public purse or public interest.
The judge asked if he would be pursuing Mr Barnett in relation to costs.
Mr Crook said that Mr Barnett had no money, it would not be pragmatic.
Mr Barnett replied to the judge that he would abide by the order.
Crown offering no evidence. Not guilty
Crown offering no evidence. Not guilty.
The Judge said it was a sensible way of dealing with this. Mr Barnett was free to go and it was an end to this matter.
Critically, the issue of ownership was brought very much to the fore here and dismissed. This issue has never been allowed to have light of day at any point previously during these court hearings.
On the one hand, the issue of the ‘orange marked’ boundary was central to the prosecutions case and yet, in a court which is supposed to be fair and equal, the defendant was not afforded parity when this issue would form their defence.
One might ask therefore, under what circumstance ‘would’ the question of ownership be admissible.
Says Ian Cooke
"Congratulations to you Tony and your colleagues for the excellent recent court result. "
Horseytalk.net asked Stephen Lewis of Butterfly Conservation if he would like to comment on the Not Guilty verdict awarded to Tony Barnett.
He declined to comment.