MAN IN FRACAS WITH DEFRA LOSES HIS CASE

Cumbria News and Star

A FORMER serviceman convicted of driving his car at ministry officials during the foot and mouth crisis has had his appeal dismissed.
Nick Green, 49, of Gatesgarth, Long Marton near Appleby, was found guilty by Eden magistrates last December of driving without reasonable consideration towards Defra field officers. He has always denied the charge.

During the appeal, Carlisle Crown Court heard how he had lost his job as an outdoor pursuits instructor because of foot and mouth.

The court heard that shortly afterwards, Green was a founder of the Heart of Cumbria campaign which was deeply critical of the Government's handling of the crisis and campaigned for vaccination.

Late at night on July 20 when Defra was dealing with a cull at Rosgill Hall Farm, near Shap, Green pulled up in his red Skoda estate beside Defra gatekeeper David Sampson.

The court was told he asked Mr Sampson several questions about what was going on.

Reversed

He was then spotted by field officer Linda Brown, who shouted at Mr Sampson to step away from the car and not to answer any questions.

She asked Green to leave but he claimed he couldn't get past the detoxification truck further up the road.

He then reversed his car, revved his engine and drove towards Mrs Brown, causing her and Mr Sampson to jump out of the way.

Green also took photos, and Mrs Brown claimed he was laughing and saying: "I've got what I want and I'll be back".

He then became abusive and called Prime Minister Tony Blair a murderer, she added.

Barrister Greg Hoare, for Green, said: "You didn't like him being there. Was that in case he might find out something he shouldn't?"

Mrs Brown said Defra managers had told staff not to talk to the public, and Green had been harassing her colleagues.

Green said he only revved his engine because it had become flooded and that was the only way to restart it. When asked if he had intended to drive his car at Mrs Brown he replied: "Absolutely not." He said he took photos only to prove his way was blocked.

Mr Hoare said the evidence of the three Defra officials in court "did not happily dovetail together".

He added: "When a group of people feel they are under attack there is a natural desire to stick together and support each other. It may have seemed it was Defra against the whole of Cumbria. Therefore things may have been misinterpreted."

But Judge Robert Brown said it was impossible to misinterpret the way Green was driving. He upheld the conviction. Green's original punishment of around #600 in costs and fines and four penalty points on his licence stands.

He was also ordered to pay a further #147 costs.

After the hearing, he said: "I will continue vigorously to campaign for the truth of what went on with the foot and mouth policy in Cumbria and elsewhere."