PORTSMOUTH Magistrates’ Court failed to tell the owners of South Parade Pier they needed to attend a crucial hearing yesterday over the future of the attraction, it has emerged.
The court’s legal advisor, Richard Holliday, has told The News a notice was never sent out by administrators to the Ware family and their representatives informing them of their court appearance.
The court should have sent a notice, there was a clear note on the court file, but for some reason that doesn’t appear to have been actioned and the notice was not sent.Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court legal advistor Richard Holliday
He said the error was due to a ‘glitch’ in communication between the court room and admin staff and has apologised to pier officials for the blunder.
As reported, the owners are seeking through the courts to get a dangerous structure notice imposed by Portsmouth City Council on the pier lifted to allow people to walk along the decks.
The case has now been adjourned to September 29.
The court’s blunder comes despite council prosecution lawyer Jenny Ager warning yesterday the authority will seek to drop the owners’ bid to drop the structure notice if they don’t show up again.
The council has already incurred court costs totalling £300.
Mr Holliday said: ‘The court should have sent a notice, there was a clear note on the court file, but for some reason that doesn’t appear to have been actioned and the notice was not sent.
‘So South Parade Pier Ltd did not know about the court hearing, so that means the court is at fault.’
Mr Holliday said a notice to attend had been issued to Portsmouth City Council because it is the ‘defendant’ in the civil case, but the owners should have been told separately.