It doesn’t say much for this government that Dominic Grieve can run rings around them. An amendment drafted by the ardent Remainiac was just one of 14 defeats inflicted by the Lords last night as peers opted to torpedo Priti Patel’s flagship Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Cue a crowing press release from Grieve’s group Best for Britain, declaring victory.
The rare triumph for the Beaconsfield barrister is all the more sweet in light of another result which, er, doesn’t make for such good reading. For earlier this month, Lowick landlord Geoff Monks was quietly awarded a seven-figure settlement — thought to be about £4 million — by North Northamptonshire council after a 24-year-long battle about the role of a £6 bottle of German white wine in giving a customer a bacterial infection at Monks’ Snooty Fox pub.
The settlement follows the landlord’s decision to begin a High Court action in 2019 against the council over what he said was an ‘abuse of process’ in bringing three prosecutions against him. It is now accepted that Monks was right. It is only the third time an applicant has successfully claimed breach of process and the first since 1861, according to his legal team. Still, all that trouble over a cheap bottle of plonk could have perhaps been avoided if Monks had had better representation when he was convicted by the council in the Snooty Fox case back in 2000.
For, as he told the Sunday Times, his barrister at the hearing was none other than Dominic Grieve:
He [Grieve] said to me: “I will have this case out in ten minutes.” I said “How so, Mr Grieve?” and he said, “Well, they’ve got absolutely no evidence.” “Anyway, I duly did get England’s largest fine.