Charges dropped against man who called village 'a godforsaken place'

Charges dropped against a farmer, 75, whose billboard accused a Worcestershire village of being a ‘lawless and godforsaken place’

  • Carl Powell, 75, put up a billboard describing the village of Peopleton , Worcestershire, as a ‘murderous, lawless, godforsaken place’
  • The farmer was slapped with a £90 fine and taken to court for a public order offence after locals complained about his billboards
  • Mr Powell took his billboard to court, defending his ‘right to free speech’
  • All charges were dropped against him after a lengthy row and delayed trial 

A farmer who used a billboard to accuse a small village of being a ‘lawless and godforsaken place’ has shared his relief after charges against him were dropped.

After being slapped with a £90 fine earlier this year, Carl Powell, 75, was hauled to court to face a public order offence in July after residents of Peopleton, Worcestershire, complained about his billboards.

On the board, he described the small place as ‘most definitely the nastiest village in Worcestershire’ which was put up after a local planning row.

Carl Powell, 75, was hauled to court in July after residents of Peopleton, Worcestershire, complained about his billboards

On the board, he described the small place as ‘most definitely the nastiest village in Worcestershire’

The sign was put up at Stone Arrow Farm after a local planning row

The other contained reference to field gates being taken off their hinges on October 24, 2018 to ‘let stock onto the highway’.

Now, after a lengthy row and a delayed trial, charges against Mr Powell, of Stone Arrow Farm, have been dropped.

After his first court appearance in July, he arrived at Worcester Magistrates Court brandishing the signs before being stopped by security.

During his court appearance, Mr Powell, who chose to represent himself, said he was exercising his ‘right to freedom of speech.’

In his defence, he added that his sign is ‘true and factual – and I can prove it that.’

He was due to appear in court again in August but due to the officer being on annual leave, a new provisional date was set for October 15.

Mr Powell, said: ‘I have just received a letter from the courts saying the case is being discontinued due to a lack of evidence.

‘It seems like there has finally been a bit of common sense applied, so I am very relieved.’

However, between August and now, Mr Powell received a letter informing him of an unpaid fine.

An enforcement officer then arrived at his farm with a notice to repossess some of his possessions to pay the fine.

At his first court appearance in July, Mr Powell arrived at Worcester Magistrates Court brandishing the signs before being stopped by security

Prosecutors argued that the sign at Mr Powell’s farm was visible to motorists driving past, but charges are now dropped

Feelings were running high in Peopleton over the various signs that Mr Powell put up around his property

West Mercia Police have since confirmed that the enforcement action against Mr Powell had been taken by mistake.

Since cancelling the enforcement action, a spokesperson for West Mercia Police, said: ‘The officer involved has confirmed he spoke with Mr Powell, discovered an admin error with the debt collector and the non-payment was deleted.’

Mr Powell added: ‘The whole affair with the enforcement officer caused me a bit of aggravation.

‘I might decide to appeal against that for compensation.

‘I think I will wait a bit though to give it a think.’ 

Source: Read Full Article