TAXPAYERS' cash is being spent trying to evict a council tenant from a flat in Southend.
Southend Council has been faced with costly legal bills over its efforts to evict Robert Armour from Bewley Court, in Whittingham Avenue.
The council has been trying to remove Mr Armour after alleging two years ago in Southend County Court he was “abusive and threatening” towards neighbours and rude to council staff.
The council lost that case and a subsequent attempt to get that ruling overturned by the High Court, in London, also failed. The council is now taking the case to the Court of Appeal.
In Mr Armour’s defence, one neighbour has claimed their floor of the tower block is “one of the best in the building” and “generally quite quiet”, with few antisocial behaviour problems.
Among the council’s claims is that in March 2011, electricians working at Mr Armour’s flat complained he put them in danger by turning the power back on while they were still working.
Mr Armour has denied all the allegations.
The council applied to Southend County Court for a possession order for his flat in March 2012.
The judge concluded the council’s decision to evict him was “appropriate, proportionate and lawful”.
However, after hearing evidence of Mr Armour’s subsequent good behaviour in the year since the events the council had complained about, the judge refused to grant the eviction order.
When the case came before the Court of Appeal this week, the council’s lawyer, Nicholas Grundy, argued the improvement in Mr Armour’s behaviour had not been enough to allow him to keep his home.
He also disputed Mr Armour’s right to a settled family life under the European Convention on Human Rights would be violated by his eviction.
After several hours of legal debate, Lords Justice Sullivan, McFarlane and Lewison announced they would rule on the case at a later date.
Southend Council said it was unable to reveal the cost of the case as it is still ongoing.