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SHIRLEY PORTER APPEALS TO EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

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Former Westminster City Council leader Shirley Porter has lodged a formal complaint with the European Court of Huma...
Former Westminster City Council leader Shirley Porter has lodged a formal complaint with the European Court of Human Rights following last year's Law Lords ruling that she should pay a record breaking penalty of£26,462,621 for promoting the sale of council houses during the 1980's.

In her letter to the Strasbourg court, Dame Shirley complains:

* That the£26.46m surcharge is a breach of Article 6 and was unfair and disproportionate, especially as no personal gain was involved

* That the law under which the surcharge was imposed has itself now been repealed as 'unfair, defective and anachronistic'

* That the courts which decided the merits of the case relied on evidence which was unfair and prejudicial, contaminated by bias and delays which also infringed Article 6

* That the investigatory system used by the then district auditor, including the right to compel witnesses to testify against themselves, to pronounce guilt without strict requirements of proof, and to hold press conferences at which he could declare people 'provisionally guilty' before giving the accused an opportunity to respond was unfair and unjust

* That the law giving an auditor these powers has now been repealed as 'unsustainable.'

* That she was denied a fair hearing as her lawyers were prohibited from cross examining the auditor about his evidence, findings, calculations of loss or motivations

* That decisions of both the Divisional Court and the Law Lords were in breach of article 14 in that they were discriminatory and factually inconsistent

Commenting on the complaint, Mark Spragg of solicitors Jeffrey Green Russell said: 'We are asking the court to expedite this complaint as soon as possible. The case has already dragged on for 15 years. We are confident that the complaint will be upheld.'

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