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evidence crucial for squatters’ conviction

6 November 2013

The trial of an alleged squatter under Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 has been thrown out due to a lack of evidence the accused resided at the property. 

 The accused was found superglued to a wooden beam at a property. Prosecutors relied upon police video evidence showing bedding at the property and fresh food in the fridge. A man fitting the accused’s description had also previously been seen on the roof. The judge held there was no evidence the accused lived there and his presence could have been as a visitor or as someone making a political point. The judge outlined that any future convictions under the Act would need to be based on evidence gathered through forensic work, surveillance and door to door enquiries.

 This case clearly highlights the need for thorough, robust evidence in seeking a conviction under the Act, as a person’s mere presence at a property at the time of an arrest is clearly insufficient.

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