WARRING businessmen have been ordered to pay thousands of pounds after a long court battle over a festival.
Dave Smith and Paul Cobb have been locked in a dispute for more than a year over the finances of GosFest in Walpole Park, Gosport in 2013.
Mr Smith sued former friend Mr Cobb for £13,817, while Mr Cobb launched a counter-claim for £27,000.
But after a one-day trial at Portsmouth County Court, District Judge Charles Ackroyd cut those claims down – with Mr Smith ordered to pay Mr Cobb more than £12,000. Mr Smith’s claim was reduced to £1,382.
The court heard the pair’s arguments stemmed from Mr Cobb setting up Gosport Festivals Ltd after being invited to help run the event by Mr Smith, 59, of St Thomas’s Road in Gosport.
The judge said: ‘Mr Smith began to suspect Mr Cobb was using money for the event for his own purposes.
‘He feared he was taking charge of the event, which was probably inevitable.’
He added: ‘Mr Smith was involved for altruistic reasons, the same cannot be said for Mr Cobb.
‘Indeed there came a time when Mr Smith made a complaint to the police but police took no action.’
Mr Ackroyd ruled that Barry Newby, from Yorkshire firm Dezign Audio, should be paid £7,133 by Mr Cobb’s firm. He provided stage lighting.
Mr Cobb’s barrister Darren Bartlettt argued Mr Smith contracted Dezign but the judge said he was acting as Gosport Festivals Ltd’s agent.
‘Mr Newby was an innocent victim,’ he said. ‘He should have been paid.’
After the hearing Mr Smith said: ‘I’ve been stitched up.’
He told The News he had expected Mr Cobb’s counter-claim to be thrown out.
The court heard Mr Smith’s claim included £2,000 for band riders – but he could only prove he spent £60 on food for the band The Hoosiers.
The judge said Mr Smith kept £24,000 from the bar concession. He added Mr Smith tried to recoup his losses from the event in 2012.
Meanwhile, The News can today reveal Mr Cobb owes Hampshire police and a pyrotechnics firm £6,500 from this year’s festival. Bedfordshire firm Live Effects wants £2,500.
But Mr Cobb said he aims to pay soon and he was disputing the value of the fireworks.
In a statement he said: ‘We have now drawn a line under this unpleasantness and can continue to provide a great annual music festival.’