A dog owner accused of walking her dog off the lead in a Bedford cemetery will have her day in court after her defence team rejected a move to halt proceedings.
Despite Bedford Borough Council claiming an anonymous benefactor had paid Lynette Tweedale’s £75 fine – and therefore it was no longer in the public interest to continue with the case – a trial will be held on January 8 2016.
Her lawyer Nick Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, said this was the first time in his35 year legal career that he had advised a client to reject a Notice of Discontinuance.
Mr Freeman said: “The notice presented by Bedford Borough Council’s legal department is both ambiguous and misleading. It implies that my client is guilty of breaching a Dog Control Order (DCO), which we utterly refute.
“We advised the authority last week we would not accept this anonymous £75 payment.
“We have also asked the authority for a copy of the said £75 postal order, confirmation it has not been chased and a copy of the original DCO Lynette was alleged to have breached. We are still waiting and this is in breach of the court’s direction.”
Mrs Tweedale was stopped last May by a council employee who informed her she was breaking the law by not having her 11-year-old miniature Schnauzer, Sasha, on its lead, as she strolled through Foster Hill Road Cemetery.
Despite telling the official there were no signs at the entrance – and taking him there to prove her point – Bedford Borough Council nevertheless sent her a £50 fixed penalty through the post.
The authority said it operated a zero tolerance policy and had no discretion in this matter. If not paid within 14 days the fine would rise to £75.
Last week, Freeman asked the police to investigate Bedford Borough Council for attempting to pervert the course of justice, after claiming that Mrs Tweedale’s fine had been discharged by postal order, sent by an anonymous benefactor.
Mr Freeman said: “We asked the police to investigate this ‘mystery payment’ because somebody has deliberately tried to interfere with the course of justice.
“Lynette will also be making a formal complaint to the Council ombudsman in relation to the prosecution.”