Mr Dickinson only following orders & describes cancer patient as “unwell” in Wirral Council v Kane and Woodley (Fernbank Farm)
Wirral Council v Kane and Woodley (case 3BI05210)
Birkenhead County Court
13th February 2014
Court Room 1
David Dickenson (Wirral Council’s witness)
One of the defendants asked David Dickenson when Wirral Council voted to change their policy? David Dickenson said he didn’t know as it was a “planning matter”. However he stated that it was October time when it came into force. District Judge Woodburn asked David Dickenson which year he was referring to, he replied “October 2012”.
A defendant asked why David Dickenson had tried to deceive and who gave him authority to do so? David Dickenson replied that he had been instructed by the Asset Manager. District Judge Woodburn said to David Dickenson that he thought he was a manager. David Dickenson replied that he worked in asset management as a surveyor. District Judge Woodburn asked if Tony Simpson had agreed to the notice? David Dickenson answered yes but also with the legal department.
Only following orders
A defendant asked why the lease was terminated before the policy was changed? David Dickenson replied that that was what he was instructed to do. District Judge Woodburn pointed out that he [Mr. Dickenson] had already gone through that and that David Dickenson had been instructed to do so by Tony Simpson.
The defendant said that if councillors hadn’t agreed the change in policy David Dickenson wasn’t authorised to do so. David Dickenson just replied that that wasn’t a landlord/tenant issue. District Judge Woodburn said to David Dickenson “let me decide”. The defendant said that the emails about the change back it up with details.
Stopped from paying the rent
She said going to not paying the rent, there were letters about how to stop Fernbank Farm paying the rent, they were told they could stay but the account number was changed so that Wirral Council would not accept the rent. The rent had been paid on the first of each month but their payments were returned.
David Dickenson replied that he had not changed anything to do with it, but when the lease ended on the 31st May Wirral Council were not accepting any payment so the Finance Department closed the account. The defendant said she had got copies of emails and knew councillors had not changed the policy when the lease was terminated. District Judge Woodburn said that she was straying into different areas. He said there was a change of policy, however the notice was sent out before the change. He asked that her questions to the witness were ones that the witness could reasonably respond to.
Wirral Council ignore a terminally ill woman
The defendant said that emails were sent to the court, but when the bundle (prepared by Wirral Council) came back that the emails were all removed from the bundle. She said that not accepting rent after the 31st May was to try to stop them from renewing the lease. District Judge Woodburn asked if she had any more questions? She asked David Dickenson why he had gone out of his way not to renew a protected lease? He answered that she knew the answers why he didn’t return her calls and referred to the change of policy. The defendant said that that was before the lease ran out which was only on the 31st May. She said to the witness David Dickenson, “Did I not speak to you and say I was going to hospital for radium treatment regarding a tumour?”
Wirral Council’s witness describes defendant with cancer as being “unwell”
David Dickenson replied that he didn’t know the details, but he knew she was unwell. The defendant said she had wanted the lease sorted out before her treatment and didn’t David Dickenson say he’d “see to it”? David Dickenson denied that he’d said that.
The defendant said that in negotiations on the previous lease that Wirral Council wanted a 2.5% rise and £300 in legal fees to Wirral Council. She had written a letter detailing how the defendants had covered the costs of repairs caused by storm damage and the letter was asking if there was any way to reduce the legal fees. She said that the letter also stated if Wirral Council couldn’t do anything then it requested that they send it back to her. David Dickenson just stated that he hadn’t said to her not to apply (to the court). District Judge Woodburn asked if she had more questions?
The missing email
The defendant referred to an email from Mrs Carmen to David Dickenson. She said that this email referred to the defendant wanting a record of the decision not to renew the lease. David Dickenson referred to the bundle. The defendant said there was some documents that were missing that were incriminating. District Judge Woodburn said that she may be missing the point of the hearing.
He asked a question to David Dickenson to which he answered no. District Judge Woodburn thanked David Dickenson. Before he left District Judge Woodburn referred to the change of policy in October 2012 and queried as to whether this changed the terms of the notice that had gone out as the notice said that Wirral Council wouldn’t oppose renewing the lease?
Squaring the circle
David Dickenson replied that it was to do with planning policy and again referred to his line manager. District Judge Woodburn asked if his instructions weren’t contrary to the terms of the notice? David Dickenson agreed that his instructions were contrary to the notice. District Judge Woodburn asked him how he squared the circle and dealt with the lease renewal?
Mr. Dickenson said that if it went past the 31st May and the defendants had not applied to the court or agreed a lease then Wirral Council had more options for the land. District Judge Woodburn asked what happened after October? David Dickenson replied that “plans changed”. District Judge Woodburn asked if the position was to serve the notices and see if an application was made?
David Dickenson said that in November he had made enquiries and again referred to his manager. District Judge Woodburn asked how that would be put into effect if the defendants had applied for a new lease? Mr Dickenson said that if the defendants had applied to the court, Wirral Council would have had to do nothing, but that there had been no discussions on that matter.
David Dickenson was told to keep his mouth shut so that Wirral Council would get a “windfall”
District Judge Woodburn referred to the policy from October 2012. David Dickenson replied to his comment. District Judge Woodburn asked if David Dickenson had been told not to engage in discussions with the defendants between November 2012 and May 2013? David Dickenson replied yes and that he was told not to agree to new terms. District Judge Woodburn asked if he was told not to engage in discussions? David Dickenson replied yes, but that he had to answer the phone. District Judge Woodburn said that if nothing happened by May 2013 then Wirral Council would get a windfall?
David Dickenson replied a potential windfall as no decision had been made what to do. District Judge Woodburn said that the policy changed and David Dickenson received instructions, therefore there would’ve been a windfall. He thanked David Dickenson.
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