VIDEO: Sheffield tree protester submits legal costs offer to council after breaching injunction
A Sheffield tree campaigner who owes Sheffield Council Â£16,000 after three times breaching an injunction stopping people from protesting inside safety zones says the "ball is in their court"Â after making them a formal payment offer.
Calvin Payne was due to appear in Sheffield Crown Court this morning (Tuesday) to discuss the outstanding legal costs after being found guilty of contempt of court at an earlier hearing in October last year.
He could have been sentenced to up to two years in prison for the offence and encouraging others to do the same in a Facebook post but was spared jail.
Speaking outside the court following a meeting with the council, Payne said he had made an offer of payment, which the council would now look at.
Around 20 fellow members of the tree campaign gathered outside the court to support Payne, before entering the building and waiting in the foyer while he spoke to the council.
Addressing the group, Mr Payne said: "It's now been sworn so it goes back to the council with the same offer of a reduced payment which was made to them in November. The same offer goes back to them now - it's either something or nowt basically. They can't get something that's not there but they have been offered a reduced amount that I would then be able to pay.
"It's up to them- the choice seems to be pennies every week forever or a realistic lump sum in the next couple of weeks."
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Mr Payne breached the injunction - and was therefore in contempt of court - when on October 6 he posted on the Save Netherthorpe Trees Facebook page: "What I would really like is for as many people as possible to break the injunction on Monday morning."
He also entered safety zones in Kenwood Road, Nether Edge, on September 28 and 29.
He added: "We are now going to wait to see if they are going to be reasonable. The ball is very much in their court. We have done everything, we've made an offer in the past, we've tried to talk to them, we've come here, we've provided them with everything weeks in advance - everything I've just done has already been provided to the council."
City councillor Alison Teal was cleared of breaching the injunction at a hearing. The case against another campaigner, Siobhan O'Malley was dropped after she agreed not to disobey the order.
A Sheffield Council spokesman said: "We hope that we are able to recover the Â£16,000 from Mr Payne in a timely manner to ensure the money can be rightfully returned to the taxpayers of Sheffield.
“Along with a suspended sentence, Mr Payne was ordered to pay the council’s costs in taking the case to court as a consequence of a blatant breach of the High Court injunction and, so, it is only right that any individual choosing to break the law at a considerable cost to the people of Sheffield is held accountable.”