Therfield man claims mistreatment by justice system after hearing went ahead in his absence

PUBLISHED: 08:32 23 April 2016

David Govan and his wife Marilyn.

David Govan and his wife Marilyn.

Archant

A Therfield man claims he has been mistreated by the justice system after a hearing went ahead without his knowledge.

Last week the Crow reported how David and Marilyn Govan were prosecuted at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on eight counts for breaching a noise abatement notice at their home in Hay Green, Therfield.

But Mr Govan says he entered a plea of not guilty, which was not taken into consideration during the hearing, and also claims he did not receive the noise abatement notices by North Herts District Council in the first place, and only received one letter.

Mr Govan says he handed a letter in at the court two days before the hearing, stating his intention to plead not guilty.

When he found out the hearing had gone ahead regardless, Mr Govan emailed the court saying: “I presumed that this case would go forward for trial at a date to be arranged.

“However it appears that the case went ahead and was literally bulldozed through the legal system because, I presume, our not guilty letters were either ignored or mismanaged. I would ask you in the circumstances that the ruling by Stevenage magistrates is annulled.”

Suzanne Leith from the pre-court department has now told Mr Govan that the case had been listed for consideration for an application to re-open the original case on Friday, May 13, also at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court.

Mr Govan claims the court system mismanaged the paper work, adding: “They did not process that guilty plea. North Herts District Council bulldozed it through. My wife is a care-worker and so we couldn’t make the trial. I said I haven’t been served these notices, the council says we have.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Mr Govan’s claims that he and his wife were never served with the noise abatement notice were specifically addressed during the hearing.

“Evidence was produced which showed that proper service had been carried out, and the magistrates were satisfied with it.

“There was no record of any plea having been entered by the defendants and so the matter proceeded in their absence, as is customary in these cases when defendants do not attend as required.”

The Crow contacted the county’s court service for comment but did not receive a response.

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