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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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This matter concerns a dispute with the Borough of Poole

Customer Question

This matter concerns a dispute with the Borough of Poole Safer Communities Team regarding their action against my husband and me, following a complaint they received from a neighbour who accused us of harassing her. The matter expanded into an additional accusation of anti-social behaviour. My husband and I have vigorously denied the accusations and have sent supporting evidence. (We are aware of the reasons for the fabrications, but I do not believe they are material to our question, which is at the end of the summary of events.) We are, in fact, the victims in this situation.
We have been through Stages 1 and 2 of the council’s complaints procedure. The decision is that our complaint is not upheld.
We maintain that a thorough investigation cannot have been carried out:
.1. We have been advised that the council officer who conducted the matter from the beginning, and is pivotal, has not been spoken to by those carrying out the “investigation” as she is “unavailable”. Much of the action taken by the council has been based on hearsay (we have evidence to support this.) The handling of the matter, which has caused much distress to me and my husband, is unacceptable. Indeed, in a covering e-mail to my husband (with the one giving their decision), the council have written that lessons have been learned and some procedures changed. Yet they will not offer the requested retraction and apology.
.2. The council officer apparently carrying out the Stage 2 investigation has ignored, and clouded, issues which either have been, or can be proven. No evidence has been supplied to support their allegations, or subsequent actions of the council.
.3. I do not think, for the purposes of the question at the end of this summary, that you need details of the allegations. Suffice to say that some have extremely unpleasant connotations attached. I give three examples: the accusation that my husband has sent insulting and offensive e-mails - untrue and we have asked for sight of those which are considered offensive and none has been supplied; that the officer concerned (who cannot be contacted) has listened to unpleasant telephone calls from my husband - untrue, because there have been none, and again, when asked for evidence, none has been supplied; my husband is accused of taking photographs in our communal garden, “whilst lurking behind bushes and trees”, of single ladies in their flats - again, untrue and no evidence of the accusation being supplied.
.4. The allegations are so outlandish and sometimes ridiculous that I think, had our circumstances been different, we would have just dropped the matter. We have lived in our block of flats for 20 yrs and have many good friends who realise that we are the victims of a “witch-hunt”. We were directors of the block for over ten years, my husband being the chairman of the board for that time. However, my husband carries out a great deal of voluntary work in the neighbourhood, is well known for his good works, both in more formal organisations, such as our local Residents’ Association and in caring for the elderly and disabled in our block.
.5. We have been advised that we may take the matter to the Ombudsman. We are completely disillusioned by the way the council has conducted the matter. It seems it is possible for the officers to make wild and unpleasant allegations without providing a shred of evidence - in addition to acting on hearsay and, even when proved wrong, refusing to give a retraction.
Therefore, our question is:
Given that this matter has caused damage to my health (I am 70) which my GP can verify, and greatly upset both my husband and me, is there any point in going to the effort of applying to the Ombudsman to look into it? Could we be confident that a properly conducted investigation would be carried out? Alternatively, should we seek advice from a solicitor experienced in this kind of matter? We know how quickly legal fees can mount up, but we feel we should have some redress for the way we have been treated. Is it likely, in your experience, that one concise letter from a solicitor would be likely to produce a retraction - or would it just drag on?
Incidentally, it is possible that we have inadvertently backed the council into a corner, and that, although we have only requested a retraction and apology, they may suspect that if they were to acquiesce, we would seek compensation. (Claims against the NHS come to mind.)
Your opinion would be appreciated.
***** *****cock
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 7 months ago.

Hello Christine my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Have you submitted any complaint to the Chief Officer of the Council direct at all?

Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3267
Experience: Solicitor
Jamie-Law and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
telephone number 01202 - 765 993No, I have not submitted any complaint to the Chief Officer of the Council.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Are you able to give me some idea of when you are likely to 'phone?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 7 months ago.

Shall I call tonight?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
If no too late for you, yes please.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 7 months ago.

Thanks.

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