Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Round two in court battle that pitches family’s right to stay in their home against neighbours’ desire for a peaceful life

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Judge backs mother and four children facing eviction because of older kids behaviour IN the narrow passageways of a Gospel Oak housing estate the rights of a young family to keep their home are clashing with the demands of neighbours to be allowed to live in peace. A mother and her four children under 11 are fighting a legal bid by Camden Council to throw them out of the flat they have lived in for 15 years. But the Town Hall insists that the wild behaviour of the familys 10-year-old and his teenage brothers has made the lives of neighbours so hellish that eviction is the only resort. Three of the older boys have anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos). Two are in custody but will shortly be released, and one is on police bail. One faces trial for an alleged assault on Gospel Oak Conservative councillor Keith Sedgwick. The only way to deal with this problem is with the family off the estate, the councils barrister Philip Squire told the judge at Central London Trial Centre on Thursday as he tried for the second time in a week to have an injunction imposed on the 10-year-old and his siblings, banning them from the estate even before they are evicted. For the second time, Deputy District Judge McCormack threw the bid out. Disagreements among the Town Halls housing, homeless persons and social services departments over who should take responsibility for the family meant that Mr Squire had to admit that the local authority is not in a position to offer an alternative property and the judge refused to put them on the street. As the familys barrister, Joshua Dubin, argued: Is it within the grounds of exceptionality that a mother and her children should be ousted from their home?

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