The country’s leading defence lawyer has asked the police to investigate Bedford Borough Council for attempting to pervert the course of justice, over its failed action against a woman accused of walking with her dog off its lead in a graveyard.
In addition to this claim, Nick Freeman - aka Mr Loophole - said the consultation process for this Dog Control Order (DCO) was flawed, and dog owners who had been fined for walking their pets off their lead would be entitled to have their fines reimbursed!
Lynette Tweedale was stopped last May by a council employee who informed her she was breaking the law by not having her 11-year-old miniature Schnauzer, Sasha, on its lead, as she strolled through Foster Hill Road Cemetery.
Despite telling the official there were no signs at the entrance – and taking him there to prove her point – Bedford Borough Council nevertheless sent her a £50 fixed penalty through the post. The authority said it operated a zero tolerance policy and had no discretion in this matter.
After hearing about her plight on local radio, Mr Freeman took up the “David Vs Goliath” case on her behalf.
Two days ago, Bedford Borough Council called the celebrity lawyer’s office claiming that Mrs Tweedale’s fine had been discharged by postal order, sent by an anonymous benefactor.
However, Mr Freeman and his client said the payment was not accepted and they would have their day in court to prove her innocence.
Mr Freeman has asked the council to preserve the postal order and associated documentation for forensic examination.
Last night, the head of legal at Bedford Borough Council informed Mr Freeman they were discontinuing the proceedings as it was not deemed to be in the public interest to pursue it.
Mr Freeman, who acted for the 62-year-old in a pro bono capacity, said: “All through this case Bedford council has displayed breath taking arrogance.
“It has never been in the public interest to continue this action against Lynette, and there has never been more than a 50 per cent chance of conviction.
“This prosecution should never have commenced and its continuance will not be an end to this matter. Heads should roll.
“We have now asked the police to investigate this ‘mystery payment’ because somebody has deliberately tried to interfere with the course of justice.
“We have asked to see copies of the postal order, the envelope and the letter accompanying it, and we have asked them to preserve the originals.
“Lynette will also be making a formal complaint to the council ombudsman in relation to the prosecution.”
Mr Freeman added: “Central to this prosecution was Bedford council’s DCO, but in our view an order, or a valid order, does not exist. We have repeatedly asked them to furnish us with a copy and the Court made a direction that the order be served, but this has never happened.
“If by some miracle it does exist, then it was not published and therefore invalid. That being the case, Bedford Borough Council will have to refund every dog owner who has been fined in connection with this order.
“This case will cost the Bedford taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds which seems slightly disproportionate when considering the £50 that Lynette originally faced.”