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Islington Tribune - by PETER GRUNER
Published: 27 November 2009
Linda Robson: hitting out at any bailiffs who ‘harass and upset’ the elderly or sick
Linda Robson: hitting out at any bailiffs who ‘harass and upset’ the elderly or sick
Birds of a Feather star beats bailiffs in battle for family

Tory helps win cash back after TfL admits mistake

TV actress Linda Robson hit out this week at bailiffs seeking unpaid traffic fines who “harass and upset” the elderly and infirm and who appear to be a
“law unto themselves”.

The Birds of a Feather star spoke after she paid a £450 fine to bailiffs, working for Transport for London, on behalf of her stepfather John Bull, 79, over the alleged non-payment of an £8 congestion charge.
It was then discovered that the fine had not been registered with TfL and Ms Robson enlisted the help of Conservative Canonbury candidate Oriel Hutchinson, who has personal experience with parking authorities.
“Without Oriel’s help the matter would never have been satisfactorily resolved”, the actress said.
TfL finally admitted that a mistake had been made and were forced to apologise but only after the case went to Clerkenwell County Court.
Mr Bull, who lives with Ms Robson’s mother Rita close to the actress’s home at the Angel, is virtually bed-bound with prostate cancer.
Ms Robson added: “When the bailiffs arrived we tried to explain that my stepdad was very ill in bed and the car was hardly used.
“But you can’t appeal to or argue with them. They wanted my mum’s furniture. My mum had never seen bailiffs before. Now she’s absolutely petrified every time she walks out of the house. I believe there should be some kind of system where people who are extremely elderly or ill are at least given the opportunity to explain their circumstances before the bailiffs are sent in.”
Ms Hutchinson, who is standing in the town hall elections next year, offered to take up Mr Bull’s case.
Mr Bull, the retired owner of a window cleaning business, feared that with the non-registration of the fine bailiffs could return.
Ms Hutchinson took the case to the court and a judge granted an injunction against the bailiffs. She also managed to win £1,000 back for Mr Bull, including the original fine and compensation.
A TfL spokesperson said: “TfL expects very high standards from bailiff companies acting on our behalf. In this case we confirmed that the bailiff in question failed to follow our agreed processes so we refunded the monies owed and apologised to Mr Bull for the inconvenience this has caused.’’
Mother-of-two Ms Hutchinson is gaining a reputation for being prepared to take on the draconian parking authorities for so-called unjust fines.
Early this year, this paper reported that she was seeking advice from near neighbour Lord Falconer of Thoroton after her car was towed away.
Lord Falconer was not at home but his wife, also an eminent lawyer, suggested Ms Hutchinson took her case to a judge.
She finally got her car back without being charged.

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