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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

John Wilkie smeared during costs hearing in Indigo case

The Indigo matters continue - Who is Kristina Kealy, allegedly the General Manager of ZZPS

One of the witnesses produced, almost magically, at the UHW Cardiff case last week was a Kristina Kealy, apparently of ZZPS and working at may Court Links Business Centre, Old Woking road, Woking, Surrey, GU22 8BF.

On both the Claimant's and the Defendants' schedule, Ms (Oops, I should say Mrs) Kealy was listed as being called on Thursday, and as a result, at the start of the proceedings on Wednesday she wasn't present.

The defendants only found out that Kristina Kealy was a witness on 13 June 2017, and immediately scurried away to check her, and the other five witnesses Bona Fides. After all, readers of this blog will be fully aware of "Matt Murdoch/k" the blind superhero lawyer apparently working for MIL
Collections. However, as always, investigations were started on that basis that the witness is being honest.

What was discovered throws up more questions than answers. There are :-

* No publicly available Electoral Roll records for Mrs Kealy within 200 miles of Woking, or indeed within the United Kingdom.

* No publicly available Birth certificate for a person named Kristina Kealy within the last 65 years

* No publicly available Marriage Certificate in the UK between a Mr and Mrs Kealy, with the Bride's name being Kristina.

* No Linked-In information about Mrs Kealy at ZZPS, or indeed at any company in the UK

* No Facebook account in the name of Kristina Kealy in the UK

* No Credit Records for a Kristina Kealy in the UK

And for the record, both the spelling Kealy and Kealey were checked. The nearest Kristina Kealy found was a teacher in Kew York City.

Having got to the stage of ascertaining that, on the balance of probabilities, Mrs Kealy did not exist, work continued to investigate the company for whom she claims to work. Again, this investigation started on the basis that ZZPS Ltd are who they say they are, and background checks on the company were undertaken.

On 11 July, John Wilkie called ZZPS’s published phone number, and asked to speak to Kristina Kealy. He identified himself, and was told that there is no one working for ZZPS named Kealy. He asked as well, where at May Court he should deliver a legal document, such that it would be
served. He was told that he cannot serve a document at May Court and would have to deliver it to ZZPS’s registered office. This is in direct contradiction to a letter sent by ZZPS to Private Parking Appeals earlier this year, where they stated that correspondence needs to be sent to
their address in May Court.

However, prior to this call a visit had been paid to May Court. ZZPS is not listed as being based there; May Court apparently has two suites, and two businesses, Frobisher Capital and i-Corporate Risk Consultants. ZZPS is not located there, and indeed, with 16 staff as claimed by Mrs Kealy
in her cross-examination, there would not be enough space for the three companies in the two suites available at that site.

Contact was made with both Frobisher and I-Corporate. Neither firm has any association with ZZPS – no shared directors, they don’t handle mail. ZZPS appears, on the balance of probabilities, not to be based at May Court.

Another point as well – May Court is in Woking, which has an 01483 dialling area. Yet ZZPS has an 01932 telephone number – that’s for Weybridge, some 8 miles away. Long lines are not impossible, but have not been sold by BT since February 2008. With ZZPS only being formed in 2011
as Gary Osner’s Parachute for Roxburghe, and only starting trading in 2015, it is not feasible that this is what has occurred here.

Roxburghe, of course, was closed down when it lost its FCA consumer Credit Licence – one has to ask why ZZPS only pursues unregulated consumer debt, on the very edge of legality, though that is a question for another day and another place.

So, it appears that both Kristina Kealy and ZZPS have lied to the court about some material particulars  - the identity of a witness goes to their basic credibility.

There is worse. It has been widely reported that counsel in the hearing stated, and here I will quote Barry Beavis that "on the lunch break on day one JW and ZZPS witness, Kristina Kealy, were alone in the court room. JW is alleged to have said something about driving to their offices and
slashing all their tyres."

Now this is an interesting allegation. Its interesting for several reasons, the first being that John Wilkie is a well known and almost universally respected advocate. His company, Private Parking Appeals, is itself a BPA member, and Mr Wilkie also has good relationships with people like Mark Anfield and David Greenbank of Parking Eye, Mike Perkins of Combined Parking Solutions, James De Savery of Napier Parking, Derek Millard-Smith of JMW Solicitors, Paul Bohill of DCBL and of course Steve Clark and Andrew Pester of the BPA itself.

Additionally Mr Wilkie has now done a few parking cases - over 36 in total, and no-one has ever suggested that his conduct has been anything other than exemplary, indeed he has been allowed leave on more than one occasion to represent at appeal level and is regularly complimented about
the standard of his submissions and behaviour as a lay person. One District Judge remarked that he conducted himself “no less than I would have expected from Senior counsel”. Additionally, Counsel for Indigo made no objection to John Wilkie continuing to represent after judgment, nor, at the appeal did he object to Mr Wilkie making submissions; he indicated that even if the matter went to multi-track, he would not object to the Defendants being assisted by Mr Wilkie.

Now we come to the most interesting part of this reported allegation. The court heard from its first witness, John Hawkey of Indigo, up to about 12:20 on the Wednesday, and he was the only witness present. The next witness, Christopher Singleton, also of Indigo, was expected at around
1pm, but was not available to call at that stage. The District Judge asked the Claimant to see if any other witnesses could be made available after lunch. Kristina Kealy, at this point, was not present. The judge then adjourned for lunch, and asked the parties to return for 1:30.

When the court resumed at 1:30, Christopher Singleton had arrived and Peter Cockburn from the Hospital has also been produced. However, surprisingly, Kristina Kealy had arrived as well.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/ZZPS+Limited,+Links+Business+Centre,+Old
+Woking+Rd,+Woking+GU22+8BF/Cardiff+Civil+Justice+Centre,+2+Park+St,+Cardi
ff+CF10+1ET/@51.4277807,-2.4272855,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x
4875d84a34ec51e7:0x4fb2ee02304780b0!2m2!1d-0.5357953!2d51.3080256!1m5!1m1!
1s0x486e1b24f13043e1:0x46ca1f0f820c330b!2m2!1d-3.1796901!2d51.4782408

Woking is 2 hours 30 minutes by car from Cardiff. It’s over 3 hours by train. Even a Private Flight from the nearest airport to Cardiff would take longer than an hour, when you take into account leaving for Chobham or Farnborough Airport, the flight itself, and arriving at Cardiff
Airport, yet Kealy was here, fresh, composed, unstressed…

So one has to ask two questions - if she had come from Woking, as claimed, how had she managed to travel "faster than a speeding bullet" and make the 136 mile journey in less than 60 minutes. That's an average speed of double the motorway speed limit. And yes, it is known that she drove, as
she told Sue Prior of the TEPAG group that she managed to get a bus lane ticket (karma is a bitch).

And, if she was apparently verbally assaulted by John Wilkie at that point, as claimed, why was Mr Wilkie not removed from the proceedings there and then, why was he allowed to cross examine this apparently by now scared and vulnerable witness?

The answer, of course is simple. Kristina Kealy was never threatened by John Wilkie as claimed, and did not come from Woking, but was produced conveniently in Cardiff.  Indeed, David Jones of United Wales Media was also unable to contact Mrs Kealy via ZZPS either - how curious.

Indigo were betting the far on this claim, and it was worth their while to risk producing a witness who they know is untraceable, as the Defendants had no way of contesting this. When they tried the Judge shut them down, and then a scurrilous and entirely false allegation was made as a personal attack against John Wilkie.

Who behaved unreasonably here, I wonder?

Prankster Note

The attempted smearing of John Wilkie appears to be a calculated and premeditated attempt to 'justify' the Wright Hassall legal fees of around £50k. Wright Hassall started the maneuvering by trying to move the claim from the small claims court, where there are no legal fees, to the multi-track, where there are. This appears to be the next strategy  -attacking the lay representative of the defence to attempt to get fees granted under 27.14(2)g 'unreasonableness' rule.

The Prankster does not have a transcript of the judgment so does not know how much of the costs awarded are due to the alleged behaviour of John Wilkie, and how much are due to other matters.

So far no independent evidence has emerged to support the claims of this apparent non-person, who does not appear to work at the contact address given on her witness statement.

It is interesting that while counsel for Indigo was allowed to introduce unsubstantiated allegations against Mr Wilkie, Mr Wilkie himself was allowed no right of reply, and was given the choice of either shutting up, or leaving the courtroom. Mr Wilkie chose to leave.

This is not the only controversial event in a large parking case. Who can forget the hearing of ParkingEye v Beavis, when their counsel was not available. A mysterious hoax phone call caused the first hearing to be cancelled, and in the next hearing their counsel was free to attend.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Fighting fund set up for UHW staff in parking dispute


A fighting fund has been set up to raise money to appeal the lead case verdict for the University Hospital of Wales parking dispute.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nhsvindigo


I am Sue Prior - i am Taff Ely Parking Action group assistant - we help people with unfair private parking charges.
We need to investigate the plausibility of an appeal against Judgement made on the 14th July 2017
Judgement means that £12.8m (as stated by Wright Hassall instructing solicitor) can and will be enforced.

The full transcript of the 3 day trial is required - approx £3k
We then need to get legal assistance to assess the information and see if there are grounds for appeal
Cardiff and Vale UHB's "Values into Action’ is about translating our values into the tangible behaviours we want to see from each other, and to inspire us to keep improving our patient and staff experience. http://www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/v2a

And yet, as I sit here, pondering over the last 15 months, I find myself questioning how to make sense of the UHB's behaviour and their implicit message to staff over that time. One thing is certain, as healthcare professionals we will not be translating this hypocrisy and turning our back on our patients. But sadly the likelihood is, that as time goes on and the Parking Company vultures circle over their next victims, individuals beaten down and betrayed by their employer will leave their jobs at UHW. Unsuspecting individuals who are tempted into posts in the UHW won't be advised on the nightmare that is parking at UHW nor that a permit does not guarantee a parking space.
You see this isn't about all staff not paying for a parking ticket, it is about being unable to park. Following a long and very stressful 9 months, colleagues at UHW, Cardiff, find themselves at the receiving end of an aggressive battle where private parking company Indigo Park and their solicitors, engineered substantial and costly penalties to staff whose only crime was to park at their place of work. Some colleagues already financially over stretched as a consequence of years of forced austerity are now having to contemplate debt management programmes, 

Judge finds for parking company on all 7 points at University Hospital of Wales. £28,000 costs awarded

The University Hospital of Wales has around 1,000 parking spaces for staff. In order to park there, staff must enter a contract with the hospital. They apply and if succesfull are given a permit to park. Around 10,000 permits are in current force.

Although issuing 10,000 permits for 1,000 spaces seems on the face of it a perfectly reasonable strategy, in practice it has not worked well. For some reason far more staff attempt to park than there are spaces for, leading to chaos and a bumper payday for parking contractor Indigo. Offsite parking can be up to a 45 minute walk away.

Tickets start at £20 and are then increased to £120 by artificially bumping them between debt collectors ZZPS and Wright Hassall.

There are currently 100,000 unpaid tickets from hospital staff worth £12,000,000 and a hearing to consider these was held on 12/13/14 July.

There were 7 points of defence.

(i) The validity and enforceability of Notice to Driver (NtD)
(ii) The validity and enforceability of Notice to Keeper (NtK)
(iii) The enforceability of the right to recover parking charges under an agreement between Cardiff and Vale Local University Health Board and Indigo Park Services UK Ltd
(iv) Signage
(v) The source and Provenance of Parking Permits
(vi) Whether a contractual offer was made
(vii) Applicability of, and compliance with, the code of practice

The judgment

DJ Coates controversially found for the claimant on all 7 points. The Prankster was not in court and so is relying on others for an accurate report of her judgment. Full analysis is therefore reserved for the time when the transcript is available.

(i) The validity and enforceability of Notice to Driver (NtD)

Apparently no actual NtDs for the 3 defendants were submitted as evidence; only a pro-forma template circa 2017. Nevertheless, Judge Coates found this complied with POFA.

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because
a) This NTD was not in force at the time of many of the parking events
b) POFA requires that the NtD contains specific information relating to the actual event. As only a template was provided there is no proof the actual NtDs continued this information and were compliant
c) It is up to the claimant to prove their case, which they clearly have not done

(ii) The validity and enforceability of Notice to Keeper (NtK)

Judge Coates ruled that the NtK could contain a charge different from that on the signage and the notice to driver. She ruled that because David Metcalf of the BPA had held out the NtDs issued by ZZPS to be a 'best practice' example, then they must be correct and she did not need to consider the matter further. She further ruled that in any case a keeper could be held to have agreed to a parking contract without visiting the site, if their partner had visited the site many times and could reasonably have expected to inform them of the contract in casual conversation.

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because
a) POFA 2012 rules that the parking charge must be the on the signage [2, 3(b)(i)]
b) POFA 2012 rules that the parking charge on the NtD must be on the signage [7(2)(c). 2, 3(b)(i)]
c) POFA 2012 rules that the charge on the NTK must be the same as that on the NTD [8(2)(c), (2)(c). 2, 3(b)(i)]
d) POFA rules that the keeper is only liable for the charges set out on the signage and NtD [4(5), 8(2)c,2)(c). 2, 3(b)(i)]
e) POFA requires that the NtK contains specific information relating to the actual event and repeated from the NtD. As only a template NtD was provided there is no proof the actual NtDs continued this information and were compliant
f) It is up to the claimant to prove their case, which they clearly have not done
g) The Prankster has heard of accepting a contract by performance. he has never heard of accepting a contract by means of casual conversation
h) The BPA is not a competent body to authorise NtKs. It is a members club for the parking industry. Additionally, no evidence as to David Metcalf's competence in this matter was served, and he was not billed as an expert witness. It was therefore not appropriate to take his unsubstantiated report as proof the NtK template was valid

(iii) The enforceability of the right to recover parking charges under an agreement between Cardiff and Vale Local University Health Board and Indigo Park Services UK Ltd

No actual copies of any letter of authority were supplied for the time of all parking events. The Health Board state they destroy the previous letter of authority each year when sending out a new one.

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because
a) It is a BPA requirement that written authority is kept
b) In ParkingEye v Beavis it was stated that parking companies need to obey the BPA code of practice
c) POPLA regularly uphold appeals if the operator does not produce written authority
d) It is not believable that the board destroys old letters of authority, as they need to keep these in case of legal challenges

(iv) Signage

Judge Coates ruled that it was sufficient that there were numerous signs. It did not matter that the actual costs were hidden in the small print and not detailed.

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because:
a) ParkingEye v Beavis sets out clear guidelines for signage. In that case, the parking charge was clearly displayed in the largest font. There were no unspecific charges added later
b) ParkingEye v Somerfield Stores clearly sets out that unspecified debt collection charges above the parking charge are not likely to be enforceable

(v) The source and Provenance of Parking Permits

Judge Coates ruled the parking contract was made at the time of parking, and not when the permits was issued.

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because:
a) This is directly analogous to residential parking. Primacy of contract therefore applies and a third party cannot unilaterally change the terms of the contract
b) As the staff pay the health board for permits and they are issued by the health board, this contract should be the one in force

(vi) Whether a contractual offer was made
Judge Coates ruled the signage did make a contractual offer.

Rather like the 'hawkeye' system, The Prankster considers this 'umpire's call'. In The Prankster's opinion the signage is confusing, and makes no contractual offer, and therefore is either void for uncertainty or creates a trespass, not a contractual breach. However, The Prankster accepts some judges will call it one way, and other judges another.
was not

(vii) Applicability of, and compliance with, the code of practice
Judge Coates ruled that compliance did not matter

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because
a) In ParkingEye v Beavis it was stated that parking companies need to obey the BPA code of practice

Costs

Wright Hassall asked for £47k in costs. The judge ruled that it was unreasonable for the defence to bring up 2 of the points (Authority (iii) and Permits (v)) as she considered these as unwinnable. She therefore awarded 2/7th of £47k under the unreasonableness rule (27.14(2)g, or nominally £28,000.

She ruled that it be split between the 3 defendants. She further ruled it be split between the 90+ other cases waiting on the result of this won, as they had benefitted from not having to go to a hearing.

The actual cost will be determined in a costs hearing on 1st September.

The Future

This now leaves some hospital staff facing life-changing amounts of money for those on hospital pay. Not just the 3 in the hearing, but many of the outstanding 100,000 tickets.

For the reasons above The Prankster considers the judgment to be incorrect.

But what does he know?

The Prankster therefore calls on the legal brains of Wales to offer themselves pro-bono or at an affordable rate to help with an appeal and resolve the plight of these unfortunate hospital staff.

Please get in touch with The Prankster at prankster@parking-prankster.com if you are willing to help. The Prankster will then out you in touch with the people co-ordinating any appeal.


Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Friday, 14 July 2017

Judgment on £12 million of outstanding parking charges expected today

[The Prankster previously blogged that tickets were issued from April 2017. This is incorrect, and the actual date was April 2016. The Prankster apologises and the article has now been adjusted]

Judgment on Indigo's claim for parking against doctors and nurses at the University Hospital of Wales is expected today at Cardiff at 11:00.

The hearing is for 3 lead cases, with another 90-odd claims depending on the result. In the 3 day hearing, Indigo stated there were another 100,000 tickets riding on this result, with a value of £12 million.

All tickets were issued since April 2016, which means that Indigo are looking to make around £750,000 million a month from charges in the hospital car park. Most of these charges are against hospital staff.

Indigo initially issue the tickets at £20, and then bump them around debt collectors to artificially raise them to £120.

Prankster Note

Any car park which is issuing £750,000 million worth of charges a month is by definition badly managed and not fit for purpose. The Prankster believes the hospital management should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for letting this situation get to the current stage.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster



Wednesday, 12 July 2017

DfT block byelaw at John Lennon Airport to make it an offence for keeper not to name driver

Peel Holdings have for many years been trying to get new byelaws passed at John Lennon Airport.

The Department of Transport have been blocking the changes. It seems that one of the sticking points is the desire of Peel Holdings to make it an offence for the keeper not to name the driver of a vehicle (byelaw 8.5).


It is worth noting that parliament itself considered this option when enacting the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, schedule 4. They refused it.

Here is the relevant extract from the Impact Assessment document


The full correspondence between the DfT and Peel Holdings is available in this pepipoo thread, post #200.

Here are some more wise words from the DfT:


Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster



Excel finally admit ticket was "issued in error" at Peel Centre

The Peel Centre, Stockport is the worst run car park in the whole country. It is managed by Excel Parking Services who are owned and run by Simon Renshaw-Smith. S R-S sits on the board of the International Parking Community, where he helps set policy.

The Prankster previously reported a mysterious error at The Peel Centre around the 13/14 May where charges were issued to motorists who purchased tickets.

Although early reports were that Excel was not cancelling these charges it appears they have had a change of mind. This post on MSE tells all:

 My daughter appealed the ticket, and quoted the number of people on here and other forums who had been issued a ticket when using the same machine on similar dates.
The appeal has been upheld with the company withdrawing the claim as the ticket was "issued in error"

Prankster Note

Excel have not provided any information on what the error was, how they intend to fix it in future, or whether they will be refunding motorists who have paid in error.

The Prankster considers this is not acceptable.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

UKPC lose residential case. Tenant can derogate parking rights to visitors.

C8HW2E9Q – UKPC v Miss C, Reading 12/07/2017 before District Judge Harrison

Claimant represented by Andrew Gibbs-Ripley, solicitor instructed by LPC Law
Defendant represented by Bargepole.



Guest report from Bargepole

This was a residential parking case in which the Defendant had parked as a visitor in the space allocated to the tenant of the property, Miss B. UKPC had previously issued a claim against Miss B, reported a month ago: http://parking-prankster.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/ukpc-lose-residential-case-will-vicim.html

The Judge at that hearing had ruled that Miss B had an unfettered right to park, and that trumped anything on UKPC’s signage. So the key decision that DJ Harrison had to make, was whether that principle could be extended to visitors.

Mr G-R argued that a visitor was not a party to the contract between landlord and tenant and thus could not rely upon it, whereas I argued that the tenant had inherent rights in the contract, which could be derogated to visitors.

The DJ preferred the Defence submissions, so case dismissed. Costs of £96 awarded.

Prankster Note

Parking companies continue to take landowners and their guests to court for parking in their own spaces. This is a complete abuse. Parking companies are brought in to protect the rights of landowners, not attempt to fleece them.

The Prankster suggests that any parking company who does not explicitly state in their contract that they will cancel all tickets accidentally issued to residents and their guests should be booted of site and a proper parking management company brought in instead.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster