Scarborough farmer set to sue crime tsar
A Scarborough farmer is taking crime tsar Julia Mulligan to court over claims she slurred him on a radio show.
Bill Edwards, who hit the headlines after using a shotgun to scare off burglars, is suing both the commissioner and North Yorkshire Police for upwards of £50,000 over remarks the farmer feels are defamatory – and which made it hard for him to find work.
The 22-year-old was locked up overnight with his mum after firing at the fleeing burglars but was never charged, while culprit Dave Taylor was fined £100.
But unprintable comments made in a subsequent BBC Radio York interview by Julia Mulligan, allegedly based on advice from the force, are set to land both the crime chief and the police before a judge.
“My client’s life has become a living hell, due to the actions and failures of North Yorkshire Police and its Police and Crime Commissioner,” said solicitor Andrew Gray.
“Bill is a hero, not a villain, and he should be have been treated accordingly.”
A court hearing is pencilled in for Leeds Crown Court this January, where the commissioner - who is elected to hold the force into account - will be represented by the same legal team as the police.
Mr Gray, who claims thousands has already been “needlessly wasted” on his client’s criminal case, feels that with the commissioner independent of the force, it poses a possible conflict of interest.
However, the commissioner’s office states that the Joint Corporate Legal Services team is designed to save cash, and that any potential conflict of interests are considered before hand.
North Yorkshire Police claim it would be “inappropriate” to comment at this stage, while Mrs Mulligan said: “Mr Edwards has instigated legal proceedings and it isn’t appropriate that either of us should comment on the details of a live legal case.
“We need to let this case follow due process and I have every confidence that it will come to an appropriate outcome.”