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Judge Describes Case As 'Crackers'

Tuesday August 13 2013

Barnsley Magistrates' Court Barnsley Magistrates' Court

A DISTRICT judge has attacked the Crown Prosecution Service for pursuing a 'crackers' court case involving a £7.49 damage claim against a retired army captain.

John Foster described the decision to prosecute former captain Timothy John Hallam as 'nonsense'.

Mr Hallam, 55, who has served 18 years in the army including tours in Bosnia and Kosovo, has indicated he will deny a charge of causing damage which would cost £7.49 to repair after he cut the top off a wooden fence post.

The district judge, sitting at Barnsley Magistrates' Court, said: "I cannot believe, even given the vagaries of the Crown Prosecution Service these days, that it wants to proceed with this case against a 55-year-old man of exemplary character.

"It's crackers. The CPS really needs to get some sense of what's important to the public.

"This is a dispute between neighbours. It was a fence post before he cut the top off it and it's still a fence post. The neighbour is £7.49 out of pocket. It's the height of nonsense."

Mr Hallam said the case was subject to a county court action as part of a long-running civil dispute with his neighbour over rights of access and encroachment.

Mr Hallam, of Thurgoland Bank, Thurgoland, said: "If I lose the case it could undermine a seriously expensive civil action. It could take my employment away, as well as leave me with a criminal record, but the principal is something I will live with long after all this is over and I want to be able to live comfortably with my conscience if I have nothing else in the world."

CPS solicitor Chantel Lowery-Green said it was impossible to prove whose land the fence post was on at this stage and it was felt Hallam would have to be prosecuted because of a chance of a similar incident in the future.

"A way out of this would have been to offer Capt Hallam the chance to be bound over to keep the peace," she said. "But I understand he will not accept a binding over because he says he was within his rights to cup the top off the post. We will have to list it for trial."

Mr Hallam was granted unconditional bail until the trial on September 12.

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Reply Posted by Caroline lemon on Tuesday August 13 2013 at 12:49
Absolutely ludicrous, why not use the tax payers money for a real crime court case, how about donating the funds of what this court case is going to cost towards the wool witch murder case, this is beyond belief, they should be ashamed!!!

Reply Posted by Caroline lemon on Tuesday August 13 2013 at 12:51

Reply Posted by NIC CAMERON on Tuesday August 13 2013 at 13:20
the C.P.S solicitor needs HELP !!! ITS a ruddy JOKE .. BUT Know doubt , it will go before a JUDGE & HE'LL receive a prison sentence .. 2 years Minimum .. such is the pathetic state of JUSTICE !!! ...

Reply Posted by ET on Tuesday August 13 2013 at 17:53
another case of "job for the boys" some more pocket money for the solicitors it stinks and proves how corrupt the system is.

Reply Posted by Goodienuff on Tuesday August 13 2013 at 23:29
WATCHA TAWKING 'BOUT WILLIS???? This is bloody ridiculous!"!!!

Reply Posted by mae brussel on Wednesday August 14 2013 at 00:56
The fact that this man is a retired captain
has no consequence.
Rich man poor man begger man thief every crime is a crime. if someone is desperate for food .has no money and steals a loaf of bread he is branded a criminal.
a retired captain in hm forces decides to saw off someones property in a case of .im rich. my bitch does not make it any less a crime after all 1:50 for a loaf to a hungry man would still warrent to the court a 60 quid fine and hours or tagging.
No a crime is a crime lets not have favourites just cos were this or that

Reply Posted by Mick on Wednesday August 14 2013 at 08:05
Agreed. Sounds like he turned down the chance to resolve this without taking up the courts time, but won't accept that he did wrong.

Reply Posted by flapper on Friday August 16 2013 at 18:44

Reply Posted by hally on Saturday August 24 2013 at 09:38
Disputes bet neighbours over access rights and boundaries usualky involve two sets of arrogant intransigent parties. Get them both bound over to keep the peace an forget their petty dispute

ipso Regulated