Late yesterday Westbrook Partners was cleared of the criminal harassment of a tenant at its Dolphin Square housing block in Pimlico, London SW1.
District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe found the landlord not guilty following a private prosecution brought by tenant Elka Raine.
Raine had claimed that, between June and September 2009, the firm had "pursued a course of conduct that amounted to harassment" in its attempt to evict her from her flat.
The judge said that she had "no doubt" that the landlord had behaved in an "unreasonable and oppressive" manner in one respect, by reporting Raine to the police for allegedly filming children around the estate.
However, she ruled that this was the only ground that had been proved by Raine, and it alone did not establish the course of conduct required to find criminal harassment.
She said that the fixing of a notice of possession to Raine's door, in public view, was "unnecessary" and could constitute an element of harassment, but that she was not convinced that the landlord, acting on legal advice from its solicitor, was aware of this. She therefore rejected that ground.
She also rejected further grounds based on actual service of the notice and that Raine had been prevented from entering the car park in Dolphin Square for approximately 14 days after she refused to sign a waiver to certain rights under her lease.
She found that the new parking system was intended as a general means of improving security.
Both Raine and Westbrook will get their legal costs paid from court funds.
Photo by geoftheref's via Flickr.