What the Judge really said

Protest outside Sheffield Magistrates Court
Protest outside Sheffield Magistrates Court
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Re: Cameron Fleming’s letter in the Star, (September 27), ‘This is my final word on the subject’.

Firstly, I don’t think any of us should take voting tips from Mr Fleming when he cannot correctly spell the Sheffield Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene Coun Bryan Lodge, or correctly quote Mr Churchill.

Mr Fleming’s attention to detail is clearly lacking in more than just his understanding of the Sheffield tree campaign.

Secondly, at no time does Mr Fleming deal with the real issue - preferring to try to score personal points instead.

The issue is the lack of sustainable management of our healthy, street trees.

The last court case, taken by SCC against its citizens, worked to act as a smokescreen for this vital matter - for a while.

Thirdly, the only person who “cherry picks” what the Judges said is Mr Fleming.

In fact, what Mr Justice Gilbart actually said, was that PART of Mr Dillner’s claim, on a very specific point of law, was ‘devoid of merit’ - not the actual case. I should know - I was present at the High Court.

I doubt Mr Fleming was as his opinions seem to be made up solely of top line summaries from media reports.

But, since we are on the topic, here are a few more things that Mr Justice Gilbart said, that weren’t reported at the time due to SCC’s hurry to declare a ‘win’ (which was actually a lose-lose for everyone):

Mr Justice Gilbart: “Is HTAF (Highway Tree Advisory Forum) meeting still in existence?” Defendant’s Counsel: “There was a hiatus - the last meeting was September (2015)”. The Defendant’s Counsel suggested that the court proceedings had stopped the HTAF sitting and Mr Justice Gilbart said: “I cannot see the logic of that”.

Defendant’s Counsel: re: 3 Feb 2016 Full Council meeting: “…neither the Cabinet member nor the Council could lawfully take a decision - they had no power to do that… Streets Ahead is run by an Executive.” Mr Justice Gilbart: “So, why not pass it onto the decision maker?... SCC could be seen as running the defence of ‘Not me, guv” - you pass it onto the person(s) who do have the power…”

Mr Justice Gilbart to Defendant’s Counsel: “So, Sheffield Council did not comply with its own constitution?”

Mr Justice Gilbart: “I’m beginning to think the protestors were right (SCC were uninterested)…” and “…finding a way of arguing that they didn’t need to listen”.

Mr Justice Gilbart: “The message I am getting is that SCC did not think that it had to listen”.  

Mr Justice Gilbart: “I’m trying to get a handle on where people could say they disagree and where they would say “My views will be taken into account…”

Hopefully, that was indeed Mr Fleming’s final word on ‘facts’ he’s formulated around his kitchen table.