A man at war with his neighbours over the state of his garden has won a legal battle to overturn a restraining order which prevented him from harassing six of them.
Father-of-two Andrzej Jonski, 51, was hit in the pocket with a £3,000 legal bill after being judged to have the scruffiest back garden in his street in July 2014.
He was then given a restraining order after neighbours alleged he was harassing them in a series of parking disputes.
Now a judge has ruled the restraining order was never legal, causing legal turmoil as he remains to be sentenced for breaching it.
The sight of rubble, car parts, plastic sheeting wood and old tyres at the rear of his £220,000 four bedroom house in Easingwood Way, Driffield, has left his neighbours fuming.
A string of neighbours complained to East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s planning officers who agreed it was an eyesore and not the “amenity value” expected on a modern estate. The amenity included the bedroom view from five houses which overlook the Jonski’s back garden.
He had failed to comply with an order to maintain his land served in June 2013 giving him six weeks to clear up his garden – or provide a valid reason not to. He was given a legal bill of £3,019 in July 2014 by Hull Crown Court after failing in his appeal to overturn the magistrates’ court decision.
Mr Jonksi was at Hull Crown Court on Friday November 27 in an second effort to quash a restraining order placed on him by Beverley Magistrates in January preventing him harassing a series of named neighbours.
Speaking through a Polish interpreter, Mr Jonski told the hearing he knew only two of the six people he was not supposed to harass.
Mr Jonski said: “I am not guilty. On January 14 all I said was I am not guilty. I have not done anything wrong. I have not breached the law. The police or the prosecutions have no evidence for making such an order, which I did not fully understand anyway on January 14. The order was also made to people I did not know. I do not know all the people named on the order. If I do not know them, like the 60 million people in the UK, how am I supposed to avoid them. The court did not tell me who they were, or identify them. How am I to know that I am not allowed to speak to them?”
He said the first time he knew the name of one woman was when the police called at his home on July 1 to say he had breached the order.
Crown barrister Stephen Robinson told the appeal hearing the restraining order was put in place on January 14 2015 by District Judge Fred Rutherford at Beverley Magistrates’ Court.
It was imposed on an acquittal after the Crown offered no evidence against the defendant over a claim of harassment.
Mr Robinson said because the alleged harassment was against a series of people, rather than a consecutive number of cases against an individual, no evidence was offered by the Crown.
He said it was legally possible to impose a restraining order where there is no conviction. He said the judge’s note was that Mr Jonski, who had a legal representative, understood the order.
Upholding the appeal Judge John Dowse said: “There is no evidence at the earlier hearing that any evidence was called, or investigated in any detail. That is a procedural irregularity in any event. It is not referred to in terms within the reasoning (given by the judge), nor is there any identification, which particular part, or whose statement, the district judge relied upon in coming to the conclusion that a restraining order was necessary.
It leads me to the conclusion, on the face of it, these were procedural irregularities so the order cannot stand.”
The judge warned Mr Jonski that although he had quashed the order there could be legal argument that he still needed to be dealt with for its breaches as it was a valid order at the time. He said the Crown would still have to consider its position and he should attend Beverley Magistrates Court on December 9 in relation to a breach.
Mr Jonski was allowed to walk free from court.