The country’s leading defence lawyer is taking on a “bullying” council, which is threatening court action against a woman accused of walking with her dog off its lead in a graveyard.
Lynette Tweedale was stopped last month 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 Council nevertheless sent her a £50 fixed penalty through the post.
It warned her that if she did not pay up within 14 days this would be increased to £75, and, if she still refused to pay, she would be taken to court, and, upon conviction, fined in excess of £2,000, and also be landed with a criminal record.
After hearing about her plight on BBC Radio Three Counties, Nick Freeman – aka Mr Loophole – is now taking up the “David Vs Goliath” case on her behalf.
Last year, the celebrity lawyer challenged York City Council who had illegally resurrected bus lanes and fined drivers more than £1.4 million. Despite persistent protestations it was doing so lawfully, it finally capitulated and agreed to refund all the money.
Mr Freeman, who is acting for the 62-year-old pro bono, said: “I don’t like bullies and I never have. Lynette is an ordinary person being bullied, harassed and threatened by her local authority. Now they have me to deal with!
“The facts speak for themselves – there was no sign there in the first place. How could she know she was breaking the law when there was nothing there to tell her?
“Secondly, I don’t see how they can claim she will end up with a criminal conviction if she refused to pay as this is a civil matter. I want to see what statute they are referring to?
“This is a council that is not only using bully boy tactics, but it is wasting tax payers’ money in relation to a particularly trivial incident, where, if it exercised a modicum of common sense, it would not pursue this matter any further.”
Lynette said: “I can hardly believe Nick is now acting for me. It’s just incredible. I was ready to throw in the towel as I can’t afford to go to court and lose.
“There was no sign telling me I was in the wrong. Had there been then I would have had Sasha on her lead.
“But there wasn’t and I took him to prove it. We both took photos as evidence. Three days later a sign is put up and I get issued with a £50 fine!
“I’m incredibly grateful to BBC Radio Three Counties, Nick and everyone else who is offering their help and support.”