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It was unlawful and unreasonable of Erewash BC to persist in seeking jail terms for an elderly couple in poor healt...
It was unlawful and unreasonable of Erewash BC to persist in seeking jail terms for an elderly couple in poor health over alleged Poll Tax arrears, London's High Court ruled.

And Mr Justice Auld quashed Ilkeston Magistrates' decision on September 8 this year to jail 74-year-old George Smedburg and his 80- year-old wife, Doris, for a total of 28 days each. Mr Smedburg suffers from epilepsy, severely impaired mobility and arthritic and other pain. And Mrs Smedburg was also in a poor state of health, suffering from asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and incontinence and requiring constant attendance.

The judge ruled that the couple had brought many of their troubles upon themselves through their lack of cooperation with the council. But there were doubts about how much in Poll Tax arrears, if any, the couple owed and the council acted unlawfully and unreasonably by persisting in seeking their committal to prison.

The couple were jailed on September 8 in their absence and the judge remarked that imposition of immediate jail terms was not the only option available. The judge formally declared that the Borough Council's conduct in persisting with its committal application on September 8 was unlawful and unreasonable.

The judge said this was not a case where he would award compensation to the Smedburgs. But he ordered the Borough Council and the magistrates to each pay half of the legal costs of the action.
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