Sunday, February 03, 2013

Arrogant British council loses court cases after 4 years of denial

In the teeth of photographic evidence that they were wrong. You need a lot of patience to deal with a British bureaucracy. Their obvious strategy was to wear the plaintiffs down

A couple who had their car destroyed by an automatic rising bollard have finally won a four-year court battle for damages.

Claire Savidge, 34, needed hospital treatment after her BMW M3 was hit from underneath by a bollard in Darlington, County Durham, in November 2008.

The £20,000 sports car had to be written off by insurers after the device destroyed the engine.

Claire and her husband Ashley accused Darlington Borough Council of arrogance in refusing to accept it had activated before it was supposed to, forcing them to pursue their claim through the courts.

A judge sitting at Middlesbrough County Court found in the Savidges’ favour after CCTV images submitted by the council proved Mrs Savidge’s evidence that the bollard rose at 9.55am, not at 10am when it was meant to rise as the local authority claimed.

The couple have been awarded compensation and costs but are waiting for a copy of the judge’s findings for the exact amounts.

Darlington Borough Council said it is waiting for a copy of the judgement to read through the details of the finding, but that it had insurance in place to pay for court related costs.

Mr and Mrs Savidge, of Darlington, said they feel vindicated by the judgement and called on the council to remove the rising bollard, which is still in place, or improve its safety.

Mother-of-two Mrs Savidge said: 'I’m pleased we’ve been successful and that we’ve won but I’m angry with the council for having something in place that’s so dangerous.

'It’s not safe and they need to do something about it. The council claimed the warning lights were flashing but the light is a couple of inches across and is to the side of the bollard.

'If you are going to put a warning light on something it should be in front of the driver like a level crossing – you shouldn’t have to turn your head away from the road.'

Mr Savidge, 40, said the court case had taken so long because the council had refused to accept any blame for the incident.

He said: 'The council dug its heels in and said it was Claire’s fault, that’s why they’ve gone to court. They honestly thought they were going to win. They gave evidence the car went through the bollard at 10am but their CCTV evidence proved us right.

'If they hadn’t used the CCTV stills with the time showing before 10am then it would have been harder for us to prove our case.'

In a statement, Darlington Borough Council said: 'The court found in favour of Mrs Savidge.

'We are currently awaiting sight of the Court report from our insurers, who defended the case on our behalf, to read through the details of the case and the finding.

'We do have insurance in place to cover such court related costs.'

Original report here

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