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Glossop teacher to be seen fighting her case on TV
Tuesday 13th June 2017 @ 13:39 by Nigel P.
Community Longdendale News

Chrissy Morris following his decision to elect trial, after pleading not guilty to charges relating to the eviction of Miss Rekha Patel

A documentary to be broadcast on Channel Four on Thursday, this week,(june 15) will highlight the case of Glossop teacher Rekha Patel’s eviction from her Simmondley cottage last June.

The programme entitled “Battling the Bailiffs” features activist Chrissy Morris a 43-year-old boxing trainer from Maldon in Essex, who travels up and down the country facing off bailiffs who are evicting or attempting to evict people from their households.

Mr Morris attempts to frustrate evictions by informing people of their rights and the limitations of the powers of the Bailiffs to enforce evictions and repossess property.

Apparently the devil is in the detail and Morris is claiming that many evictions have no legal basis at all.

It has been suggested by campaigners that it is the ignorance of the general public on the law surrounding property evictions and repossessions that allows bailiffs a free hand.

However it is not clear, just how successful Mr Morris has been over the years in stopping evictions and he himself has been arrested on several occasions.

Most recently the Tameside Reporter covered his appearance at Tameside Magistrates Court in March when he faced charges of “obstructing a court officer in the execution of his duty”.

That charge was the result of the eviction at Miss Patel’s home where several High Court bailiffs evicted Miss Patel and her supporters from her cottage in a dispute over an unpaid legal bill.

Miss Patel challenged the authority of the bailiffs to evict her as she claimed there was legal basis to put a charge on her property which was owned outright by her.

She also continues the challenge the authority of a district judge in a lower court to make an order of possession on a property wholly owned by an individual.

Rekha Patel at cottage in Simmondley near Glossop

Taking these and other factors into account she challenged the eviction and re-entered her cottage a month later.

No attempt to re-evict her has been made since the June action and she continues to occupy the property, but the case is ongoing in the courts, in respect of a writ preventing her and friends from occupying the property.

The case of obstruction against Mr Morris at Tameside Magistrates, was adjourned when Mr Morris claimed that court papers including evidence against him had been sent to the wrong address.

The case was then reassigned for trial at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court, where again Mr Morris claimed he had not received the evidence against him.

District Judge Purcell told Mr Morris he could have the prosecution papers there and then, giving him just an hour to read them.

Mr Morris who claims to be dyslexic said: “the time was totally inadequate” he was also understood to have been unhappy that several prosecution witnesses had not turned up for the hearing.

Mr Morris then left the court but the evidence against him involving the incident outside Rekha Patel’s cottage continued to be heard from the prosecution side.

There was no evidence offered from the defence as Mr Morris was representing himself and witnesses supporting his defence case, were not called.

Mr Morris who had failed to turn up at the court after the lunch recess and was found guilty in his absence and fined £400 and £600 costs.

Speaking on his conviction and fine, Mr Morris said: “My right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights has been denied. I intend to appeal to the Crown Court.”

In the documentary commissioned by BAFTA winning  Manchester based independent producers, Nine Lives Media, Miss Patel’s case is heavily featured and she is interviewed on camera explaining her situation.

She sets out the history of the case, that evolved form a dispute between herself and her neighbour who claimed she had damaged some architecturally unique stones belong to her property.

Miss Patel counter claimed that the stones actually belonged to her cottage but a court found against her and awarded damages to her neighbour.

The damages were paid, but then more demands followed from the legal company that had represented the neighbour.

Miss Patel claims she tried to challenge these charges, but the company refused to communicate with her and increased the charges as time went by, until eventually the legal firm sought the possession of her cottage.

In the documentary Patel argues cogently and passionately why the whole process surrounding the charges, the eviction and subsequent attempts to take possession of her property which she eventually sold to a property company for £2, is legally flawed.

Nine Lives Executive Producer Cat Lewis told the Tameside Reporter why making the programme was so important, she said :” We wanted to capture the grass roots resistance movement that has sprung up around the country in response to the housing crisis and the increased use of bailiffs.

The documentary is balanced and reveals many protesters now believe the best way to avoid eviction is through the courts.” 

The hour long programme can be seen on Channel Four at 10 pm on Thursday June 15th