London: Squatter’s Digest: That’s a wrap

Welcome to the second, and final edition of Squatters Digest (for 2018). You made it, faithful readers.

In a shock headline, squatting in the UK continues. Evictions still take place every month, but due to the huge number of empty properties in the country, people are still finding ways to self-house. These properties sit vacant while people struggle with rents, and with capitalism. Sometimes people die, and still these buildings remain empty. As the temperatures look to drop below zero in the next couple of days, and I sit here with a horrible cold, I am reminded that it is coming up 6 years since the death of Daniel Gauntlett, a man who froze to death outside a building in Kent, too afraid to enter for fear of being prosecuted for the crime of squatting in a residential building, the infamous Section 144 LASPO law brought in back in 2012 that so many people with an interest in squatting will know all too well. [Read More]

Kent: Coroner’s Inquest into the Death of Daniel Gauntlett

It was just under a year ago that the SQUASH Team got wind of the death of a homeless man in Kent, who had frozen to death sleeping outside a derelict residential property. After the arrest of Alex Haigh for squatting an empty housing association (L&Q) property, the death of Daniel Gauntlett (35) exemplified the injustice of the new law s144 LASPO, making squatting residential buildings a criminal offense. On further investigation, we found out that the police had spoken to Mr Gauntlett that day; SQUASH suspect that they told him not to try entering the empty bungalow on a freezing February night, or he would be arrested. SQUASH immediately put out a press release condemning the death: “Homeless Man Prevented From Squatting Dies” [SQUASH Campaign, 1 March 2013]
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London: Four more s144 Defendants Walk Free!

This update is a few weeks old but still newsworthy. s144 refers to the clause which criminalised squatting in residential buildings in England and Wales.

Another four people have been found “Not Guilty” of the criminal offence introduced in September 2012. They were arrested at a building in Scrutton Street in March. After over six months on bail, their trial took place at Stratford in October.
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London: Prosecution of Camden squatters collapses

Fuck s144! Another test of section 144 of LASPO has failed for the cops (This law criminalised squatting in residential buildings in 2012 for England and Wales).
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UK: Squatting, adverse possession and the LASPO s.144 debacle

Ancient Roman law gives illegal squatter £400,000 home. Or so you would think from the coverage of builder Keith Best’s Land Registry claim to have 35 Church Road, Newbury Park, Ilford, registered in his name.

The importance of the case is (or will be when it goes through appeals) that it should clarify how far the criminalisation of squatting (LASPO S.144) impacts on the law of adverse possession.

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Mold (Wales): Another squatting case collapses on appeal at Crown Court

Resistance to s.144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 that outlaws squatting in residential buildings is growing. Ultimately, the law may prove unworkable and unenforceable.

Ten days ago, squatters occupied a residential council property in Southwark in protest at the sell-off of council houses and the criminalisation of squatting under s.144. Last week, a Brighton squatter was acquitted on appeal as the prosecution failed to prove he was living at the property. His two co-defendants had previously been acquitted on the same charge.

Yesterday, another case collapsed when the Crown Prosecution Service presented no evidence at Mold Crown Court against Tristan Dixon who was appealing his conviction under s.144.
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Brighton: Appeal coming up!

The appeal of the third squatban resister is coming up in Brighton!

In a week and a half, on the 30th and 31st of October, our friend Dirk will finally have his appeal against his conviction for Squatting a Residental building. We call on all squatters to come to this appeal and support Dirk! Fuck S144!

Down with Weatherley, up the squatters!
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