Fascinating day at the BRISTOL CIVIL AND FAMILY JUSTICE CENTRE today as Scam-a-Lot, Bristol City Council’s partner and dodgy property guardian company at the centre of multiple housing scandals in the city, ineptly tried to prove the tenants of various Bristol City Council properties under their control weren’t tenants at all.
Scam-a-Lot’s barrister, Elizabeth Fitzgerald’s, opening gambit was to explain to the poor judge, Euan Ambrose, that Scam-a-Lot in Bristol is not one company but two entirely separate ones! The first, CAMELOT PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LTD, apparently had a deal with Bristol City Council to protect and secure various empty properties for them for a fee and had the right of possession to the building.
The second company, CAMELOT GUARDIAN MANAGEMENT LTD, meanwhile, had an arrangement with various licensees, including the defendant, to occupy the building in exchange for a licence fee. This company, however, had no authorised possession of the building.
Scam-a-Lot’s barrister then explained that the legal status of the defendant as either a tenant or a licensee was a matter that sat entirely with CAMELOT GUARDIAN MANAGEMENT LTD. So regardless of the outcome of the case, their other company Camelot Property Management Ltd had the right to IMMEDIATE POSSESSION of the building without the tenant/licensee defendant as this company had no legal or contractual obligation to them.
The visibly bemused judge explained that he thought he had turned up in his court to rule on the fairly NARROW POINT of whether the defendant was a licensee or a tenant and wondered aloud whether Camelot’s baroque internal management arrangements were relevant to the case? He appeared no less bemused when Camelot’s brief helpfully explained to him that these arrangements were “A DEVICE BUT NOT A SCAM“!
Rather neatly setting the tone for the first witness Paul Lloyd who described himself as the Regional DIrector of Camelot Property Management Ltd. Although he did later admit that job titles “DON’T ALWAYS DESCRIBE WHAT WE DO“!
Under cross-examination Paul identified various personnel who had signed documents and correspondence to licensees as being employed by CAMELOT PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LTD, which slightly contradicted Scam-a-Lot’s QC’s earlier claim that licensees were managed by ANOTHER COMPANY altogether.
LLoyd was also slightly vague about THE SOURCE of documents regarding the defendant he had presented to the court. Many of which had different content and different dates to the documents apparently handed to the defendant by Scam-a-Lot over the years, which the defendant had separately presented to the court.
“My documents may have come off the system,” explained LLoyd. “Or they may have come from a file. I can’t remember. It was a long a time ago.”
“It was only six months ago,” the judge politely interjected.
“Did you retrieve the documents yourself?” the defendant’s barrister enquired.
“Possibly some of them. I may have asked others to retrieve some of them. I travel a lot,” a flummoxed Lloyd explained. “The intern gave me the emails.”
Indeed, these mysterious documents might have fallen out of Lloyd’s BACKSIDE during a particularly unpleasant LARGE SHIT for all the sense we could make of where he managed to obtain an entirely different set of documents to the ones given to the defendant by Scam-a-Lot over the years.
This FIASCO over documents reached peak farce with the cross examination of Lloyd by the defendant’s barrister about the defendant’s TERMS AND CONDITIONS document that he was given by Scam-a-Lot in 2014.
Scam-a-Lot’s document presented to the court by Lloyd was dated 2016 and contained a different set of terms and conditions to the defendant’s document dated 2014. Why could this be?
Who knows? Because Scam-a-Lot’s barrister leapt up when this question was raised and quickly shoved yet another document under Judge Euan’s nose. “These are the correct terms and conditions,” she announced.
“I see,” said Euan. “And are they different to the one’s the defendant has?”
“Yes,” she replied, “but only the frontsheet.”
So that’s all right then. As Judge Euan pondered THREE different documents purporting to be the defendant’s terms and conditions as a licensee with Scam-a-Lo set before him.
What strange webs Scam-a-Lot weave.
The case was adjourned until 8 February (possibly while Judge Euan recovers from his migraine).