A FESTIVAL organiser has been criticised by a judge for going on a ‘fishing expedition’ by asking for his former business associate’s bank details.
District Judge Simon Veysey told Dave Smith (pictured first), who helped organise GosFest last year, he was on a fishing expedition after he tried to get fellow festival organiser Paul Cobb (pictured below) to hand over copies of his businesses’ bank accounts.
Mr Cobb, director of Gosport Festivals, and Mr Smith have been locked in a long-running legal dispute since the festival at Walpole Park, both claiming they owe money to each other.
At a hearing yesterday, Mr Smith’s solicitor Peter Fortune said Mr Cobb had failed to disclose bank accounts from Gosport Festivals Ltd after being told to by District Judge Charles Ackroyd, in June.
But Judge Veysey told Mr Smith he was going on a ‘fishing expedition’.
He said: ‘You cannot go on a fishing expedition because you want to.
‘If you were suing Tesco, you wouldn’t ask for copies of their bank accounts so why is there any difference?’
But Judge Veysey did say Mr Cobb would have to hand over the firm’s VAT registration details as the money being claimed for included VAT.
He added: ‘I see no reason why you can’t hand over the VAT details. It shouldn’t do you any harm and the money being claimed does include VAT.
‘You will have until October 24 to give them to Mr Smith.’
The hearing was the fifth of its kind between Mr Cobb and Mr Smith who were accused at the last hearing in June by Judge Ackroyd of not knowing what they are arguing about.
Judge Ackroyd added they were wasting time as the pair put forward multiple arguments and the issue had become confused.
Even Mr Smith’s then solicitor, Antony Coldrige told the court: ‘This is one of the most vacuous claims I’ve seen.’
Judge Veysey said he hopes things will get sorted in the next hearing.
‘I have tried to simplify matters to make it easier for the next hearing. There is just a series of allegations.’
As previously reported, the dispute between the pair started when Mr Smith launched legal action saying Mr Cobb owed him £13,000.
But Mr Cobb lodged a £27,000 counter-claim.
Mr Smith, Mr Cobb and Gosport Festivals Ltd are also being sued by Barry Newby, director of Yorkshire-based Dezign Audio.
Mr Newby says he is owed £6,000 from last year’s GosFest in which his firm supplied the sound and lighting equipment.
Another firm is owed around £6,300.