|Gagging Injunction Prevents Driver From Publishing Key Pleasurama Documents|
In a complaint to TDC, Driver claims that the council has failed to release him from the terms of a High Court gagging injunction which was secured against him in December 2014 in a timely and reasonable manner. The gagging injunction prevents Driver from publishing or disseminating confidential documents produced by lawyers Pinsent Mason and property consultants Strutt and Parker about the controversial Ramsgate seafront Pleasurama development.
TDC argued in the High Court that the release of these documents by Driver may have jeopardised negotiations which were then taking place between TDC and building contractors Cardy about the development and sale of the Pleasurama site. Driver, who is a carer for his 2 disabled daughters, was forced to represent himself in court as legal aid is no longer avaible for contesting an injunction. He argued that because of widespread concern about the stalled Pleasurama development and the long-term blighting of the seafront, it was in the public interest to release the document. Following submissions from Thanet Council's expert injunction barrister, the court ruled against Driver who has now had a £23,000 charging order, plus 8% statutory annual interest placed on his family home by TDC to cover the costs of the High Court hearing.
Said Driver, “negotiations with Cardy and TDC over the development and sale of the Pleasurama site were completed on 20th July 2016 when Cardy purchased the land for £3.515 million from the Council. There is now no longer any legal justification for TDC to continue to hold me to the terms of the injunction. To continue to do so is unlawful and unjust and breaches my rights to free expression under article 10 of European Convention of Human Rights.
Driver says that if released from the injunction he will immediately publish the documents in the public interest. He said “although these documents are almost 2 years old they are still very relevant and in my opinion expose serious mismanagement by Thanet Council of the Pleasurama project which the public should know about. The documents also contain other information which will be of great interest to the public”.
It is believed that Driver is the only councillor in legal history to be subject to a gagging injunction by the council he was democratically elected to oversee. Driver claims that the Council’s former Monitoring Officer told him that the decision to secure the gagging injunction was approved by “very senior” members of Thanet Council’s then ruling Labour Cabinet, which at that time was led by Iris Johnston.
|Gagging Injunction Against Public Interest Says Driver|
Driver will be publishing an account and short video of how and why the injunction was secured against him in the next couple of months and will be linking this to a crowdfunding appeal which he hopes will help him clear what he described as a “politically motivated debt aimed at silencing me and punishing my family who have done no wrong”