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Property developer jailed

02nd December 2015

David Lewis, a local developer, was prosecuted by Three Rivers District Council in 2014 for breaching a Temporary Stop Notice issued by the Council forbidding him from carrying on building operations without planning permission at The Bards, Chorleywood Road. He pleaded guilty to breaching the notice on three occasions. He was also prosecuted for breaching a Control of Pollution Notice issued by the Council at Quickley Lane, Chorleywood by carrying on noisy construction work over a weekend

On 27 May 2014 at Watford Magistrates Court Mr Lewis was ordered to pay £51,643 in fines and costs for those offences.

On 5 November 2015 Mr Lewis was arrested at the offices of Three Rivers District Council on a warrant without bail issued by the court for non-payment of these fines and costs. He was brought before Hatfield Magistrates the following day in custody and bailed to appear before Milton Keynes Magistrates Court on 30 November 2015. He appeared at that court before District Judge David Chinery for an enquiry into his means.

Mr Lewis gave his address as 9, Clovers Court, Chorleywood and told the court that he did not own any freehold property in England and Wales and that his sons were now the beneficiaries of trusts he had set up. On being questioned by the Judge he admitted that two properties had recently been sold for £500,000 but that, because of the trust funds in favour of his sons, he had not received those sums.

The Judge found that by setting up the trust funds, Mr Lewis had deliberately obstructed proceedings. He said that he took the view that Mr Lewis had the means to pay the outstanding fines and costs and that Mr Lewis had deliberately taken steps to avoid payment.

Mr Lewis was sent to prison for nine months forthwith. He was told that if £51,643 was paid into the court he could be released.

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