High Court Rejects Elderly Couple’s Appeal in Costly Lantern Dispute with Neighbours

High Court Rejects Elderly Couple’s Appeal in Costly Lantern Dispute with Neighbours

Elderly Couple’s Costly Legal Battle Over Lantern:

Roger and Margaret Hunt, aged 80, have expressed frustration after losing their appeal in the High Court over a legal dispute involving their neighbours’ Victorian-style lantern.

The couple spent £100,000 in a private prosecution, claiming the lantern caused a nuisance by shining into their bedroom window in Deal, Kent.

Failed Private Prosecution Against Neighbours:

Despite their efforts, the Hunts’ private prosecution against Frances and Graham Pollard, who purchased the adjacent property in 2020, did not succeed.

The legal battle focused on the alleged spiteful placement of the lantern, leading to tensions between the two households.

Costly Legal Defeat and Unusual Costs Imposition:

The couple not only lost their initial case but were also ordered to pay £6,000 in costs to the Pollards. Mr. Hunt, a retired accountant, expressed surprise at this, stating that such costs are unusual in a statutory nuisance case.

The Hunts’ subsequent attempt to dispute the magistrate’s findings escalated the costs to over £100,000, including solicitors’ fees.

Concerns About Motives and Future Actions:

The Hunts, who live with their son Jonathan, fear that the Pollards may be attempting to force them to sell their house.

Jonathan, who retired due to health issues and resides with his parents, believes the neighbours may have ambitions to develop their property and see the Hunts as an obstacle.

Ongoing Boundary Dispute and Unresolved Issues:

The family highlights an ongoing boundary dispute with the Land Registry and the council, contributing to their concerns. Jonathan expressed worries about the Pollards’ intentions and emphasized that the court action may not mark the end of their troubles.

Criticism of Legal Advice and Court Process:

The Hunts initially did not seek legal representation based on advice suggesting that their statutory nuisance claim could be resolved without a barrister.

Jonathan criticized the court process, citing difficulties faced during oral evidence presentation and the challenges of working from memory due to health conditions.

Perceived Unfairness and Impact on Quality of Life:

Jonathan expressed concerns about the perceived unfairness of advising ordinary people to bring statutory nuisance cases without legal representation.

He criticized the court for making his parents give oral evidence and described the arduous experience, especially considering his chronic health condition.

Lighting Impact and Broader Feud:

The dispute involves the placement of a lantern creating a significant ball of light over the yard, affecting the Hunts’ bedroom window.

The neighbours have a history of perceived slights, including a scuffle on the Hunts’ driveway.

The family moved to Deal in 2012 for a more peaceful life but found themselves embroiled in a series of disputes.

Bizarre Twist: Lantern Origin Disputed:

In a bizarre twist, the Hunts claim that the lantern was originally attached to their house. They suggest that it was moved when a widow downsized from their property to the Pollards’ house, as seen in pictures from the brochure for their home.

The lantern dispute adds a peculiar dimension to the ongoing conflicts between the two households.