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The law sometimes has little to do with justice

Our correspondent writes:

If you have reached this page after reading how Rayden Engineering developed land that did not belong to them, then you will understand why it is in the public interest to ensure this kind of story is published, especially when the land in question is part of an established floodplain.

(PS: If you missed the first part of the story click here.)

The circumstances our correspondent, DC, reported to us raise many questions:

  1. Why did Erewash Borough Council originally refuse to clear a fly tip on unregistered public land claiming it was private property?
  2. If they later believed the land was owned by Rayden Engineering, why did they then clear away the fly-tipped rubbish? Councils do not clear fly tips from private property yet in this case the only vehicular access was via Rayden Engineering's yard.
  3. Why did Erewash Borough Council's planning enforcement officer insist the 8-foot high fencing Rayden Engineering had erected round the snatched triangle of land did not require planning permission when it clearly did?
  4. Why was Rayden Engineering allowed to cover the snatched land with compacted hardcore when it was an established high-risk porous floodplain?
  5. After Derbyshire Constabulary announced publicly that they did not have the resources to deal with minor crimes, why is it that they turned out so many times, including sending an armed response unit, to deal with trivial allegations reported by Rayden Engineering?
  6. Why are industrial processes that give off toxic fumes and create noise allowed to be carried out in the open? Clearly, these processes must be considered hazardous as Rayden employees are issued with ear defenders and filter masks? Adjoining domestic residents are not issued with such equipment.
  7. Why was Rayden Engineering advised by the police to install a CCTV camera to monitor an alleyway that did not belong to the company?
  8. Why did the Information Commissioner accept such weak excuses from Hayden when they tackled him about invading the privacy of the adjacent residents while monitoring an alleyway that was actually the rear access to their properties, particularly as the camera was filming in rear gardens and was zooming in on bathroom windows?
  9. Why is Rayden Engineering allowed to operate oversize HGVs before permission has been granted by the Traffic Commissioner? In normal circumstances, it would make no sense at all to allow such vehicles onto a site that can only be accessed via a reasonably narrow road occupied mainly by domestic residences.

    Cars moved onto pavement to allow HGV access But that doesn't present a problem for Richard Hayden because his mates in the police make the residents park their cars half on the pavement. Not sure about Ilkeston but that's illegal where I live unless the council has specifically arranged parking bays in designated areas.

Clearly, this is a worrying state of affairs. If the authorities normal people rely on to protect their interests fail to act on complaints and refuse to accept evidence that is presented to them then we must all be concerned. Yet when every decision seems to favour the man that you know to be a liar and a bully, then you start doubting the even-handedness of the legal system; you start wondering if there really is any justice.

Then things started happening that suggested there is a form of justice. But it comes at a price. A price that only the rich can afford. They can attempt to buy the results they require; they can pay for the truth to be suppressed. And one of the ways they do it is to sue for defamation.

On 18th August 2009, almost a year after the claimant and his solicitor were known to have read the report on our website, proceedings were initiated by Richard Hayden through the Royal Courts of Justice in London. I immediately posted an acknowledgement of service together with a letter stating that I would defend the action in full.

When the issue comes before the court, evidence will be presented that will prove beyond doubt that Hayden really did treat his residential neighbours like dirt, and that the character he is so determined to protect is actually one that most honest people would be ashamed of. However, we suspect he is more interested in protecting his standing with the people who have colluded with him in his actions against his neighbours; people who themselves have much to hide and are equally guilty. They have not so far been named but they will be when the case reaches court and then there will be red faces in the highest echelons of civic and police ranks, as well as government circles. What these people never seem to recognise is that if they ever give away even one favour they are hooked. The requested favours will get larger and more frequent.

Hayden is seeking damages for published statements which have never been properly identified. As a defendant, it's very difficult to know how any words you may have written could have caused damage to another person if that person can't stipulate what they were. As we are being sued by Richard Hayden in person and by Rayden Engineering Ltd as a company one has to assume the damages might be injury to a person's reputation or, in the case of the company, damages which led to loss of work and might therefore be considered to have a financial impact.

From the personal viewpoint, Richard Hayden obviously has a terrible reputation with some people who know him. They have written to us and called him things we couldn't possibly publish. Yet the truths we have revealed clearly haven't affected his relationship with Derbyshire Constabulary who are still sending officers to harass his domestic neighbours.

From the company's viewpoint, it would be difficult to see how anything we said damaged the company's prospects. This article from the Midlands Business News website clearly states that Rayden Engineering has just won a seven-figure contract from Scotia Gas to build a gas handling facility at Farningham in Kent starting in January 2010. This same announcement is repeated in This is Business East Midlands.
Of course, a seven-figure contract might be anything from 1-million up to just short of 10-million - either way, it's a large sum of money in anyone's estimation and Scotia obviously weren't influenced by anything we had written when they awarded the contract. When interviewed for these articles, Richard Hayden stated they were already very happy with their order book for 2010 - the Farningham contract was just 'the icing on the cake'.

It may be the icing on the cake for him but for me it's a bit worrying. I have personally witnessed the unsafe practices Rayden's men carry out in their yard at Ilkeston but what makes it more worrying is that Farningham is not far from where I live.

Possible Rayden HQ?When I first read this 'news' I went out on 26th January searching for their 'small field campus with temporary buildings for administration, storage and workers welfare'. But all I found was a few sheds which formerly belonged to an activity centre. I contacted Treejumpers at their new location in Paddock Wood and they said they believed their old site was now occupied by travellers.

Site contractor shown as Murphy PipelinesStrangely, the pipeline contractor's name on the entrance gate to the Farningham AGI site is Murphy Pipelines, a wholly owned subsidiary of J Murphy and Sons Ltd. Difficult therefore to figure out how such an expensive contract with Scotia Gas showed no apparent signs of any Rayden presence in the area, even though the contract was supposed to start at the beginning of January.

Rayden site at Farningham AGI installationThe mystery was solved when I went to Farningham again on 13th March and found that they had now established some sort of camp on the AGI site.

I noticed the sign on the side of the container stated that Rayden Engineering Ltd were mechanical and civil engineers and it intrigued me how one man working as a mobile welder could expand his business into an empire that won major construction contracts from a large utility like Scotia Gas Networks. The natural place to seek the answers, I thought, would be Rayden Engineering's website. Unfortunately, there were no answers anywhere on the website. But the home page did show the Corgi sign which has always been the symbol that qualified gas engineers are registered with Corgi - or Corgi GasSafe as it now is. So I checked the GasSafe register online. This is the result of the search - there is no record of the name Rayden in the lists of registered businesses.
I do hope Scotia Gas Networks do more comprehensive checks before they award contracts!

Meanwhile, we have a case to defend at the Royal Courts of Justice. If inclusion of the word 'justice' in its title means anything at all, the court will take heed of the evidence we present, see through the lies presented by the claimants, and acquit the defendants. Unfortunately, our first experiences are not good.

After we filed our defence to Hayden's particulars of claim, his solicitor, John Frith of Berrymans, instructed a barrister called Harvey Starte of One Brick Court in the Temple. He decided that my defence was not acceptable as it was based on the revised content of my website. Although I never felt the original site contained anything libellous I did edit it as a token of good faith. Now Berrymans were ordering me to file another defence.

I did not respond since orders of this nature have to come from the court, not from the claimant's solicitor. So I wrote to the court asking for clarification but, as with previous correspondence, they ignored me.

It was always felt that Richard Hayden never had a case against us since we could prove everything that we published. But, as I've said on many occasions before, members of the legal profession never let facts, or the truth, stand in the way of high earning potential. They asked the court if they could put in an application for a revised defence and suggested it could be done on the date that the court would set aside for a Case Management Conference. The Master said he would allow this 'if time permitted'.

When the date for the Case Management Conference arrived, I was in court together with DC and her husband who we will call RC. Richard Hayden did not attend, nor did anyone from his company. He was represented by the barrister, Harvey Starte, who, together with two trainees from his office, had apparently been in conference with the Master ten minutes before we, as defendants, were invited into the room.

Although the application was the secondary matter on the agenda, Starte immediately started pushing for us to be forced to provide revised defences. The Collins Dictionary definition of a conference is that it is 'a meeting for formal consultation or discussion'. Another internet dictionary adds the words 'for exchange of information'. In this instance, it was clear our opinion was not required. On the few occasions we forced ourselves onto the agenda to make points, we were immediately shot down.

So the net outcome of this meeting was that Harvey Starte got the result he wanted and we were made to supply revised defences, a pretty onerous task that had to be completed in less than three weeks.

I later made an official complaint in writing about the handling of the Case Management Conference and requested a copy of the recording that was made during the meeting. My request was refused.

Our revised defences had to be filed on 12th February 2010 ... and they were. The next stage was that the claimant had been ordered to file replies to our defences by 5th March 2010.

Not for the first time, Berrymans failed to file the papers they had been ordered to file. On 8th March I rang the court to enquire if they had received the replies that should also have been copied to us. They had not.

On 9th March 2010, Berryman emailed both of us with what appeared to be a backdated application for more time. Although it had taken them three weeks to come up with an excuse, Berryman's claimed they did not have enough time to file their replies and the problem was supposedly complicated by the fact that their barrister's wife had been suddenly hospitalised thus throwing his work schedule into disarray.

We have submitted another official complaint to the court based on the fact that we (even as amateur litigants) always met the ordered deadlines while the professionals were consistently failing to do so. We now await the court's decision regarding this latest attempt by the claimant's legal representatives to play dirty tricks.

We await the outcome knowing that if we had failed to meet deadlines the claimant's legal team would have done everything in their power to have our defences struck out. In other words, to make sure they won the case by default.

I should explain here that we are litigants in person only because we cannot afford barristers and legal aid is not available to us. I am a pensioner and my co-defendant is a cook in a care home. Her husband has recently experienced a very worrying time with his health and is currently unable to work.

It would be more equitable if the circumstances, or the law, forced all parties to be litigants in person but, as stated elsewhere, Hayden has money and uses it to get his own way. There was always an opportunity to settle this matter without going to trial but Hayden refused the mediation that we readily accepted.

With our experiences so far, we obviously have reservations about the fairness of the legal system but we have to plough on as a matter of principle.  People like Richard Hayden, his friends in the police and on the council cannot be allowed to get away with trampling all over others and abusing the law by manipulating it to produce the results they want.

I felt it was necessary to reveal the accusations Rayden Engineering levelled against DC and her husband and to produce my own photographic evidence to show that their allegations were false. On 30th September 2009, I drove up to Ilkeston to see the works and residences for myself. I did not tell DC or her husband I was calling in order to ensure that Hayden and his friends could not tap telephone calls or intercept emails, something I am now convinced they did because of something that happened in the lead up to the appeal.

If you didn't read the results before, here is a chance to view the evidence for yourself. Hayden's claims versus THE TRUTH

Click here to read the next stage in the legal process - The pre-trial review.

Vigilant Observer

"Many men stumble across the truth ... but most manage to pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened."

Winston S Churchill

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