A farmer who used a billboard to accuse a small village of being a ‘lawless and godforsaken place’ has shared his relief after charges against him were dropped.
After being slapped with a £90 fine earlier this year, Carl Powell, 75, was hauled to court to face a public order offence in July after residents of Peopleton on Worcestershire, complained about Mr Powell’s billboards.
On the board, he described the small town as ‘most definitely the nastiest village in Worcestershire’ which was put up after a local planning row.
Carl Powell (pictured outside Worcester Magistrates Court with a duplicate of his sign), 75, put up the billboard describing the village of Peopleton as a ‘murderous, lawless and godforsaken place’. Charges of a public order offence against him have now been dropped
The angry farmer placed the sign on an old grain dryer at his Stone Arrow Farm and was soon slapped with a £90 fine, and later summoned to court
The other contained reference to field gates being taken off their hinges on October 24, 2018 to ‘let stock onto the highway’.
Now, after a lengthy row and a delayed trial, charges against Mr Powell of Stone Arrow Farm, Worcs., have been dropped.
After his first court appearance in July, Mr Powell arrived at Worcester Magistrates Court brandishing the signs before being stopped by security.
During his court appearance, Mr Powell, who chose to represent himself, said he was exercising his ‘right to freedom of speech.’
In his defence, Powell added that his sign is ‘true and factual – and I can prove it that.’
Mr Powell was due to appear in court again in August but due to the officer being on annual leave, a new provisional date was set for October 15.
Mr Powell refused to pay up and was taken to Worcester Magistrates’ Court charged with a public order offence, but charges have now been dropped. Pictured: Mr Powell carrying a sign saying ‘truth is now a crime’ on his farm
The court heard at the time that Mr Powell displayed the sign on an old grain dryer ‘with the intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress to the residents of Peopleton’
Mr Powell, said: ‘I have just received a letter from the courts saying the case is being discontinued due to a lack of evidence.
‘It seems like there has finally been a bit of common sense applied, so I am very relieved.’
However, between August and now, Mr Powell received a letter informing him of an unpaid fine.
An enforcement officer then arrived at his farm with a notice to repossess some of his possessions to pay the fine.
During his court appearance, Mr Powell, who chose to represent himself, said he was exercising his ‘right to freedom of speech.’ The court heard that that the sign was visible to road users and Mr Powell was issued with a fixed penalty notice
Farmer Carl Powells stands behind a sign that says ‘No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again’
Mr Powell was fined £90 for the signs after residents (pictured is the church in Peopleton) reported him to the police but has refused to take them down
West Mercia Police have since confirmed that the enforcement action against Mr Powell had been taken by mistake.
Since cancelling the enforcement action, a spokesperson for West Mercia Police, said: ‘The officer involved has confirmed he spoke with Mr Powell, discovered an admin error with the debt collector and the non-payment was deleted.’
Mr Powell added: ‘The whole affair with the enforcement officer caused me a bit of aggravation.
‘I might decide to appeal against that for compensation.
‘I think I will wait a bit though to give it a think.’
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