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Ashford Borough Council v Fergus Wilson in the High Court

Published: 20/05/2024
The High Court, London

Kent landlord Fergus Wilson has been sentenced to six months in prison suspended for three years and ordered to pay £75,000 in costs (half of the Council’s estimated costs for the proceedings) after being found in contempt of court for breaching an injunction preventing him from continuing to harass staff and councillors at Ashford Borough Council.

The judgment was given on Thursday 16 May by His Honour Judge Anthony Dunne KC, sitting as a judge of the High Court.

Ashford Borough Council had returned to the High Court in March alleging that Mr Wilson, of Boughton Monchelsea near Maidstone, had continued to harass staff and councillors in breach of a previous court injunction.

The hearing in the High Court relates to an earlier case when the Council succeeded in obtaining an injunction restraining Mr Wilson from harassing current and former officers, employees, councillors and agents. That earlier judgment required that the defendant only had contact with one senior officer at the Council.

In March His Honour Judge Dunne heard evidence from the authority that since the previous injunction was secured, Mr Wilson has on multiple occasions continued to contact and harass staff and councillors on a range of issues. Mr Wilson represented himself in court.

The Council will be claiming all the costs incurred in bringing this case but sometimes in very clear cut cases, a court is prepared to order a percentage of the costs be paid straight away “on account” and the remainder claimed then goes through a formal assessment process in the court to judge its reasonableness. That is what happened here and the Council has already secured larger sums “on account” in earlier stages of the proceedings. We are claiming our full costs for the entire proceedings right from the outset through this assessment process. This will take some time to reach a conclusion.

Details of the previous High Court order can be found online.