A PROFESSIONAL boxer who was jailed after citing ancient articles from the Magna Carta to avoid paying council tax told how he was fighting to “protect our rights.”

The Echo revealed last week Oliver Pinnock, 36, of Priorywood Crescent, Leigh, was sentenced to 25 days in prison after failing to settle his £875.44 debt with Southend Council.

The father-of-three went on to serve just two days, after paying up for the sake of his family.

The welterweight boxer had argued that Article 61 of the Magna Carta proved he did not have to pay council tax without a contract between him and the authority.

Speaking exclusively to the Echo after his release, Mr Pinnock said: “I did a lot of research into the constitution and how our land is being taken over by corporations.

“In 2001, a group of peers invoked Article 61 of the Magna Carta, demanding the rights of the British people had to be defended.”

Mr Pinnock is a member of national group Lawful Rebellion - Practical Lawful Dissent. He believes that by withholding council tax, members are able to “distress the tyrannical system.”

He added: “We knew that council tax is the hardest way to do this but I wanted to take up the biggest challenge because I’m a fighter.

“I never refused to pay. I simply asked them to explain what it was spent on. They couldn’t tell me what central Government use it for so I said I would pay when they could answer that.

“I’m happy to pay for local services but not fund central government.

“I wouldn’t have paid if it wasn’t for my family but I can’t just think about myself. All I was trying to do was protect our rights and let people know we have to use them or lose them.”

A council spokesman said: “Action was taken under section 47 of the Council tax administration and enforcement regulations 1992, and supported by the decision of the magistrates court, after Mr Pinnock failed to pay his council tax debt.

“In reference to comments about our budgets and spending, we produce a Statement of Accounts annually giving a detailed explanation of the financial position of the Council.

“This must be prepared by June 30 and our accounts are then inspected by externally appointed auditors. The audit process includes a 30 working day period when the public are free to inspect our accounts.

“During this period, local electors have the right to question the appointed auditor about the accounts and potentially make objections.

"Once the audit is complete, the Statement of Accounts is submitted for approval by Council and is published on our website by 30 September each year. In addition to this, we also publish all spending over £500 on a monthly basis on our website.”