High Court sanction Local Authority ‘Entrapment’

Housing benefit paid directly into landlord's bank account has been deemed as ‘illegal income’ by the courts with the landlords sent to prison for a total of 13 years despite the payments being genuine.

housing benefitRunnymede Borough Council used the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to successfully prosecute Surrey landlords for receiving housing benefit payments sent to them by the council for their tenants rent.

The High Court of Appeal on 31 July 2020 ruled that for the council to encourage landlords to take rental payments by bank transfer and then to prosecute the landlords for receiving the payments under the PoCA is an acceptable practice by a local authority.

For decades with little recognition, Mr and Ms Beach of Padd Farm, Surrey has been housing Runnymede’s less fortunate citizens at affordable rents paid for by Runnymede Borough Council.

Runnymede Borough Council regularly sent homeless families to Padd Farm to take advantage of the economical accommodation offered by Mr and Ms Beach.

Yet unbelievably, landlords Mr and Ms Beach who are both pensioners were prosecuted, imprisoned and now at risk of losing their property of 35 years simply for receiving housing benefit payments sent to them by Runnymede Borough Council for their tenants rent.

Runnymede Borough Council and the High Court have set an extraordinary legal precedent where not only does the council stand to be reimbursed decades of rental payments made for genuine lodgings. But also, Runnymede Borough Council intend to acquire the landlord’s 32-acre farm so that the council can build a new housing development in an area of Surrey where property prices, apart from Central London, are the highest in the UK.

land grabAt a previous hearing and without Mr and Ms Beach being present or legally represented; Guildford Crown Court incredibly agreed to the council’s proposition that as Mr and Ms Beach’s mortgage payments were being partially funded by housing benefit payments – Mr and Ms Beach should have their 32-acre farm ‘confiscated’. Guildford Crown Court and the High Court of Appeal ruled that this is also an acceptable practice by a local authority.

In their absence, Mr and Ms Beach were hit with a Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 confiscation order of £1.5m to be paid within 3 months or face the default prison sentence. Mr and Ms Beach’s son, who lived and worked on the farm, was also prosecuted under the Proceeds of Crime Act and ordered to pay £900k as a further chastisement. 

Stunned and terrified, Mr and Ms Beach nonetheless had the peace of mind knowing they had sold Padd Farm in 2016 to TRM Land subject to the land developers obtaining straightforward planning consent for new homes. Proceeds of the sale would at least keep Mr and Ms Beach out of prison. TRM Land even supplied the courts proof of funds to be immediately released upon the granting of planning permission.

However, council officers at Runnymede spitefully obstructed and delayed TRM Land’s pre-planning applications. Deliberate delays by the council which enabled its officers to apply the default sentence of imprisonment to both Mr and Ms Beach.

Despite sufficient equity in their property to cover the confiscation order (and therefore the state not at financial risk). At the request of Runnymede Borough Council. Folkestone Magistrates Court imprisoned Mr Beach for 7.5 years and Ms Beach for 5.5 years.

"Being in prison surrounded by criminals and thugs was the most frightening experience in my life.” Mr Beach later said. “To avoid a beating. I had to constantly carry with me paperwork to prove I was not a paedophile." 

Six months later a Judicial Review at the High Court determined that imprisoning Mr and Ms Beach was ‘unlawful’ and they were released. No costs or compensation was awarded to Mr and Ms Beach as Runnymede Borough Council 'claimed' they were a poor and cash-strapped local authority. (Runnymede Borough Council are amongst the richest in the UK)

While Mr and Ms Beach were in prison. Runnymede Borough Council successfully applied for the appointment of a ruthless Enforcement Receiver who swiftly went on to confiscate Mr and Mrs Beach’s banked life savings. The Receiver threatened established businesses at Padd Farm and terrorised genuine rent paying tenants so they would leave. Leaving the farm derelict and pensioners Mr and Ms Beach with no rental income at all.

Mr and Ms Beach appealed at the High Court and argued that they have existing planning permission to let commercially and the only income that could possibly be regarded as ‘illegal’ was from the rental of domestic lodgings that the council say Mr and Ms Beach did not have planning permission. Which, in any event, was funded by the prosecuting authority, Runnymede Borough Council and therefore ‘entrapment’ which is an abuse of the court process by the council.

Barrister, Mr Eskander from Church Court Chambers offered to help but was told by the High Court that he was NOT permitted to represent Mr and Ms Beach at the 31 July 2020 hearing.

This appeal and a secondary appeal challenging the Receiver who at a lower court was granted permission to sell Padd Farm at just 6% of its market value to a colleague were refused by the High Court - despite clear and undisputed evidence of entrapment and underhand dealings by the Receiver.

Presiding High Court of Appeal judges Lord Justice Hickinbottom, Mr Justice William Davis and by video link Her Honour Judge Molyneux after chiefly ignoring Mr and Ms Beach’s submissions. Read out a lengthy pre prepared ruling condemning Mr and Ms Beach’s appeal application and arguments. A ruling that to this day has NOT been released or published at www.bailii.org by the Criminal Appeal Office for external examination. Not due to Covid-19 as many subsequent rulings have been published. Click Here

The following are precedents set by the High Court on 31 July 2020. Put differently, following this ruling UK authorities, councils and even the police are seemingly now allowed to:

1. Lure citizens into breaking the law and then prosecute them (entrapment).

2. Allow the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to be used as a ‘punishment’.

3. Allow an authority to use criminal property and be immune from prosecution.

4. Allow a state appointed Receiver to dispose of real estate at a fraction of its value with no marketing.

scalesCase: Beach, Beach and Beach v. R
Criminal Appeal Office (High Court) Ref: 201805151 & 201902906 
High Court Tel: 0207 947 6364

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Mr and Mrs Beach are victims of a brutal bullying and victimisation campaign by local authority, Runnymede Borough Council (RBC).

RBC exaggerated the amount of alleged illegal income Mr and Mrs Beach received in order to cover up the fact that main source of illegal funding was from 'RBC'.

RBC used the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 - a judicial process that cannot be used as a punitive measure - to 'punish' Mr and Mrs Beach for refusing to sell the farm to the council.

RBC for decades paid Mr and Mrs Beach for emergancy accommodation services and then RBC prosecuted Mr and Ms Beach for 'receiving' the payments?

RBC appointed a scrupleless Receiver to purposely transfer property title away from Mr and Ms Beach at a fraction of its value.


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